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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Illustration, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 6,390
1. I didn’t want you guys to think that I only drew fuzzy...


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2. Tire Swing

My newest portfolio piece for my agent's upcoming catalog, themed "Landscape".  I wanted to do a nice quiet scene with a gentle color palette.  I would love to have a picnic and enjoy a book under that tree!


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3. Messages


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4. SURTEX 2016 - bright art licensing

It is the final day for posting Surtex artists as the New York show enters it's final day. Here we showcase some of the designers and illustrators exhibiting with the Bright in booth 433. In the run up to Surtex Bright placed 15 ad’s in the Licensing Source Book showing the work of 15 Bright artists. They have also opened the Bright Emporium in Clapham, London which is a showroom, shop and

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5. The Stress of Getting Behind Schedule...


I've not reported on my picture book artwork recently, but it's going really well. I'm not used to the slow pace though: normally I would be head-down every day, so things would move along at a reasonable pace. It generally me takes 6 - 8 weeks to complete the pastel stage of my artwork, but this year I am getting 2 days a week instead of 5, so it's taking more than twice as long as normal, which feels like an eternity!


There's a worse snag though. Back at the outset, when I calculated how long it would take, I worked on having 3 days a week, since my residency project is only 2 days, but the extra admin of juggling both projects, plus all the back and forth emails setting up my various educational visits, not to mention writing this blog of course - all that stuff wipes out at least one day a week. Which means that I have been slowly creeping more and more behind schedule.

So, I've been pretty stressed, working late most nights to try and keep up, worrying about how to break the news to my publisher. In the end though, when I finally plucked up courage, they were great. My editor not only extended my deadline to fit the new timescale, but added a couple of extra weeks, to give me wriggle-room. HUGE sigh of relief! In all my years as an illustrator, I've never missed a deadline, so I'm delighted and feeling much better.


As you can see, I have been working recently on some of the single pages. This is because all the double page spreads are now done (hurrah!), all EXCEPT one of the most complex of all - the final spread, which I have been putting off:


The two illustrations above are from the middle of the book, where the bull is loose and stalking various children, prior to tossing them into the air. Oh no! Oh yes... You wicked author Julia Jarman!

The one below is from quite early on, before things go pear-shaped on the farm. Julia's text says:

They saw ducks dabbling in the lake,
And cows vibrating - making milk shakes.


Tee hee.

When I finished the last of these three pieces yesterday, I suddenly realised that everything was done, all except - yes - that final spread. So I'm nearly there.

Before I can even start colouring that last piece though, I have to trace it up onto my pink paper, which will take ages because it's so detailed, and be VERY boring. Unfortunately (fortunately?), I am going to struggle to get that job done at all next week, as I have a pretty full schedule, with my usual two days residency at the Morgan Centre, plus a lecture in Sheffield, then a school visit entailing an overnight stop in London... Good grief. it's all go. 

No excuse the following week though. I'm guessing it will take me 3 - 4 days to pastel up the last piece, instead of the two I generally allow. Then, finally, the last job is to cut lots of card and paper, ready to mount everything up for sending off to the publisher. Another boring but necessary task.

Or maybe I can twist John's arm to do that bit for me...



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6. It’s like #Sherlock is reaching through the bottom of the...


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7. Babybug Magazine

My toddler loves "Babybug" magazine.  She's a wiggler, and this is one of the few books/publications that she will actually sit through.  So I am extra excited to have my art in the new May/June issue!


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8. Game of Thrones Poster!



Game of Thrones Poster!



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9. HensLove


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10. Morning Sketch

























... and a quick color study.

Just keep drawing.

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11. Interview: Author Carole Boston Weatherford & Illustrator Jeffery Boston Weatherford

By Carole Boston Weatherford
& Jeffrey Boston Weatherford

From Carole

Set during World War II, You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen (Atheneum, 2016) follows the training, trials and triumphs of the U.S. military's first African American pilots.

The book pairs my poems with scratchboard illustrations by my son, Jeffrey Boston Weatherford.

The title is our first collaboration and Jeffery's publication debut. The book, which includes a detailed timeline and links to primary sources, connects to both the language arts and social studies curricula.

You Can Fly had a long incubation period. The egg may have been laid during a family trip to Tuskegee Institute, Alabama. The earliest version of the text was for a picture book written in second person.

After I was unable to sell that manuscript, I sat on the egg for a few more years. Then I began re-envisioning and reshaping the manuscript as a poetry collection for middle grades-up. I switched the point of view to first person under the title "The Last Tuskegee Airmen Tells All." Still not satisfied, I changed to third person. Finally, I settled on second person.

Around that time, Jeffery came on board. During a summer internship in children's book illustration, he created digital art to accompany my poems. We sold the package, but just before the book was about to hatch, the flight got cancelled.

Carole & Jeffery in 2000
I began to wonder if the book would ever leave the nest. I continued to revise the manuscript and to add poems. Jeffery and I decided to scrap the digital art in favor of scratchboard illustrations.

Armed with a revised manuscript and sample drawings, we sold the package to Atheneum.

In the subsequent year, Jeffery completed the illustrations and I added a few new poems.

In mid-April, Jeffery and I received our comp copies.

Our first book together finally has wings.

Fly, little book, fly!

Author & Illustrator Interview

Jeffery and I recently interviewed each other about You Can Fly.

Jeffery: Why did you want to write this book?

Carole: The Tuskegee Airmen's saga moved me personally. It is powerful—historically, politically and emotionally. I thought the story begged for a poetic treatment.

Carole: You were a serious gamer growing up. Did gaming influence how you illustrated the battle scenes?

Jeffery: Yes, absolutely. I had lots of residual visual references from battles across galaxies. I played everything from Halo to Call of Duty.

Jeffery: When did you first notice my artistic talent?

Carole: Your kindergarten teacher prodded you to finish coloring and work up to potential. By third grade, I was concerned that you were doodling planes, cars, weapons and anime characters in your notebook rather than paying attention.

Around middle school, I realized that your drawings were good. I put you in studio art classes, starting with cartooning. By high school, you were taking private art lessons with the assistant principal who became a mentor.

Carole: What is your favorite illustration from the book?

Jeffery: My favorite is of the boxers Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. It's a closeup scene from their historic rematch.

Jeffery: What's yours?

Carole: The one where two planes on a mission have bombed an enemy aircraft. The explosion is so animated; like a comic book.

Jeffery: What is your favorite poem from the book?

Carole: It's "Head to the Sky," the first poem in the book and also the first that I wrote—early on when the project was envisioned as a picture book. "Head to the Sky" reflects the power of a dream fueled by self-determination.

Carole: Tell me about your first flight.

Jeffery: I had a window seat and was looking outside. As the plane sped down the runway, I said, "We're blasting off!"

Carole: That was hilarious. Well, your career as a children's book illustrator is off to a flying start. How did it feel when you first saw the printed book?

Jeffery: Like a child at Christmas.

From the promotional copy:

I WANT YOU! says the poster of Uncle Sam. But if you’re a young black man in 1940, he doesn’t want you in the cockpit of a war plane. Yet you are determined not to let that stop your dream of flying.

So when you hear of a civilian pilot training program at Tuskegee Institute, you leap at the chance. Soon you are learning engineering and mechanics, how to communicate in code, how to read a map. At last the day you’ve longed for is here: you are flying!

From training days in Alabama to combat on the front lines in Europe, this is the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the groundbreaking African-American pilots of World War II.

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12. SURTEX 2016 - tracy cottingham

Tracy Cottingham is an illustrator based in London  who specialises in design for children. Tracy represented by The Bright Group and brightartlicensing.com who will be showing her work at Surtex in Booth 433 and also at PG Live stand 148. Tracy has recently updated her website, and you can see more of her work online here. 

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13. SURTEX 2016 - suzanne washington

Also with the Bright Agency at both Surtex and PG Live you will find Suzanne Washington. Suzanne is also currently also available for commissions and freelance work.

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14. Room of Love


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15. Gruff

gruff_robertabaird.72

Suddenly there was a huge roar.

‘Who’s that trip trapping over my bridge?

and out from under the bridge loomed the Troll.

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16. Current Work in Progress

A sneaky peek at what I am working on at the moment. Juggling a few projects, a growth chart, a children's book, and some prehistoric animals including a dire wolf (ala ‪#‎Game‬ of Thrones). Lots of blue and gold textures.

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17. Ready Set Draw! | Roxie Munro Draws an Amazing Maze

Ready Set Draw - Roxie Munro Maze

Author and illustrator Roxie Munro returns to Ready Set Draw!, with a new project inspired by several of her books, including Market Maze. In this episode Roxie teaches you how to draw your very own busy random Roxie reversing maze! Go above, go under; make turns and twists. There are no mistakes, only opportunities to create new paths.

SUPPLIES YOU CAN USE TO DRAW WITH US

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

Watch Roxie’s episode of StoryMakers to learn more about her books and apps!
KidLit TV | StoryMakers with Roxie Munro

 

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ABOUT ‘MARKET MAZE’
Market Maze - Roxie Munro

Market Maze
By Roxie Munro
Published by Holiday House

Eight trucks hit the highway in a colorful and mesmerizing maze book that helps kids understand how food gets to their tables. In eleven intricately drawn mazes, eight vehicles, each carrying a different product, are on their way to the city. Fish, apples, dairy products, corn, vegetables, flowers, eggs, and baked goods all travel through colorful and minutely detailed landscape mazes to reach the city farmer’s market. Information on all of the products and their journeys is included along with answers to all of the mazes. For additional fun kids are challenged to look for objects hidden on each spread.

ABOUT ‘MAZEWAYS A TO Z’

Mazeways A to ZMazeways A to Z
By Roxie Munro
Published by Sterling Publishing Company

Prepare to be astounded, because these are no ordinary mazes! Welcome to Mazeways, where A is for Airport, B is for Boatyard, C is for Circus, and everything is exciting. In this eye-opening world, each letter in the alphabet transforms into a fantastic maze and fingers have to trace a path through fantastically detailed environments. Navigate these puzzles as you would if you were traveling in real life: drive your car on the right side of the road, cross the street only at the crosswalks, and feel free to walk around furniture or landmarks as long as nothing blocks your path. Each maze comes with directions on how to launch into the adventure, and features really cool things to find and guide you along the waylike crocodiles and seals, clown cars and motorcycles, baseball diamonds and sunken treasure, and more!

Find more of Roxie’s books, including more mazes, here.

ABOUT ROXIE MUNRO

Via RoxieMunro.com
Roxie is the author/illustrator of more than 40 nonfiction and concept books for children, many using “gamification” to encourage reading, learning, and engagement. Her books have been translated into French, Italian, Dutch, Chinese, and Japanese.

Roxie was born in Texas, and grew up in southern Maryland, by the Chesapeake Bay. At the age of six, she won first prize in a county-wide contest for a painting of a bowl of fruit. She has been a working artist all her life, for a while freelancing in Washington DC as a television courtroom artist. It was great training for life drawing, concentration under pressure, and making deadlines. Clients included CBS, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press. Fourteen of her paintings have been published as covers of The New Yorker magazine.

She also creates oils, watercolors, prints, and drawings, primarily cityscapes, which are exhibited widely in the US in galleries and museums. Roxie’s work is in numerous private, public, and corporate collections.

Roxie Munro studied at the University of Maryland, the Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore), earned a BFA in Painting from the University of Hawaii, attended graduate school at Ohio University (Athens), and received a Yaddo Fellowship in Painting. She lectures in museums, schools, libraries, conferences, and teaches in workshops.

Many oils and watercolors are views from the roof of her sky-lighted loft studio in Long Island City, New York, just across the East River from her home in mid-Manhattan. Roxie is married to the Swedish writer/photographer, Bo Zaunders.

CONNECT WITH ROXIE MUNRO
Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

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Ready Set Draw!
Executive Producer: Julie Gribble

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The post Ready Set Draw! | Roxie Munro Draws an Amazing Maze appeared first on KidLit.TV.

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18. April 28th Walk This Way...

Howdy friends. Today I give you three more characters strutting their stuff. We have Mort Felinestien, Hank Tembo, and Mrs. Topeka. I trimmed the sections that you have already seen, so that it doesn't get monotonous. As I have stated in previous posts the first section contains the rough pencil animation I have used as the basis for all the other walk cycles. When I drop these characters into scenes in the final animation I'll stagger their walk cycles. In English that means they won't all walk in unison in the final. ; )

As you can see to the left here, Mrs. Topeka doesn't have much up and down in her walk cycle. I tried to match the suggestion of girth/weight (no offense Mrs. Topeka!) that I had in Mr. Topeka's walk a few weeks back. I have a feeling that as they approach you on the sidewalk you can feel these two characters before you see them. The concrete would tremble.

Speaking of trembling concrete, Hank Tembo (Swahili for elephant, according to Google) is sporting a stylish plaid Irish cap (which can be purchased in the gift shop on your way out). His toy/gift bag originally had the name Finnegan's on it, but it was too hard to read so I took that out.

And then of course there is Mort Felinestien looking oh so sharp in a grey suit which matches his bowler, the band of which matches his tie and socks! Mort is carrying a rolled up newspaper, which he plans to attack and shred once he gets back to the office.

One again that's the Marine Corps belting out "Up In The Morning". It seems very fitting with all the exercising going on around here. It's also one of my favorite cadences, and one I loved to run and ride to back in the day.

Next time I will try and drop a city sidewalk scene scrolling by in the background for next time. Something that loops, like the old Flintstone's backgrounds did. Something simple though. I want it to be interesting, but I don't want it to detract from the main purpose which is just showing off the walk cycles.

Walking Characters from ryanloghry on Vimeo.

As I have stated before my work flow is pretty basic. I draw the characters in my sketchbook. I scan the drawings and "cut them out" in PhotoShop so I can move the pieces. Then I pose them on each frame of the walk cycle (still in PhotoShop). Then I render it out as a Quicktime movie. I use After Effects and Premiere to composite everything together. As always I hope you have enjoyed my drawings and this animation. Thank you for stopping by, God bless, and have a great day.

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19. Author Interview: Sue Fliess on Calling All Cars

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Welcome to Cynsations! What was your initial inspiration for writing Calling All Cars (Sourcebooks, 2016)?

I wrote this book for my first son, Owen, who was obsessed (and that’s putting it mildly) with his Matchbox cars. He had about 75 of them, and by age 3, had given them all individual names.

We used to play a game where he’d close his eyes, and I would hand him one of the cars. He would feel it, and then tell me which of his cars it was. He never missed. He sometimes slept with them in his crib (I know, choking hazard! Once he was asleep, I removed them, okay?)

He even carried them everywhere he went. Once at the park, he buried one in the sand and then couldn’t find it. Not our finest hour.

What was the timeline between spark and publication, and what were the major events along the way?

As you know, there is a lot of rejection in this business. Well, considering my car-obsessed son will be 13(!) next week, I would say from spark to publication was about 10 years, give or take a year.

The only timing that could have been better for answering this question would be if he was now 16 and learning to drive.

A lot happens in 10 years. I actually thought Calling All Cars was going to be my first sale, but the editor who was championing it left before the editorial meeting.

I sold several more books and most of them even published before I sold this one.

Events…those Matchbox cars were soon shared with Owen’s baby brother, Wyatt. My children learned to use the potty. They learned to read. I gained and lost a lot of baby weight. I became an Aunt. We moved from an Audi to a Subaru to a minivan to an SUV. I could go on.

Like I said, 10 years is a long time.

What were the challenges—research, emotional, logistical—in bringing the cars to life?

Not too long after I started sending this manuscript out, Pixar came out with a little movie about cars—you may remember it—and I thought my story would never make it.

I mean, how could I compete with Lightning McQueen?

So I shelved it for a good bit of time. When I landed my agent in 2009, and sent her everything—good or bad—I’d written (my apologies to her for that!), and this was in the mix. She believed in it, and I’m thrilled that it found a home—and such a good one at that with Sourcebooks. The editor and illustrator nailed it!

What did Sarah Beise's illustrations offer to the text?

I think Sarah did a tremendous job of giving the cars different personalities through their drivers. I was a little worried that an illustrator might animate the cars and they would smack of that Pixar film I mentioned…but because she has animals driving the cars, we avoided that issue entirely.

And with any picture book, the illustrations go well beyond what the text is saying. There are penguins snorkeling and surfing in the background, hidden children’s toys, pigs in the wide car, a turtle in the slow car, lions in the King and Queen car, bugs in the Bug, and all sorts of other clever nuances….and best of all, if you line up every page horizontally, the road connects from start to finish.

Why animal characters?

Charlie
My editor and I met and discussed the different options: animating the cars themselves, having people drive them (kids or adults), or animals. I was up for anything—and while people are fun, animals are just so much better. As a pet owner, I’m a bit biased.

I was really happy with the direction, and Sarah’s animals are cute and full of personality. It was the best outcome.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

This publishing ride has been an amazing one for me. I can remember in my pre-published days, visiting this great blog called Cynsations where I could get a sneak peek at all of the editors whom I was trying so hard to reach, on ‘the other side.’ And now, here I am, on the blog!

I’m honored. Thanks for having me.

Cynsational Notes

Big cars, small cars, let’s call ALL cars! This bouncy text explores the wonderful world of cars zipping up, down, fast, and slow. A perfect basic concept books for eager young learners from the author of Tons of Trucks. Then cruise into bedtime!

Rest cars, Hush cars
No more rush, cars.
Cars pull in, turn off the light.
Sweet dreams, sleepy cars...goodnight!

Filled with vibrant art, adorable animal characters, and cars of all kinds from love bugs to the demolition derby, Calling All Cars is for every child who loves to read about things that go! Surprise bonus—follow one long road throughout this vividly imagined world and don’t miss the hidden clues in the artwork!

Accompanying pictures are as follows: Sue’s yellow English Lab, Charlie; Sue’s home office; Sue’s son Owen playing with his matchbox cars; Sue in a DeLorean at an 80’s themed event at a Sonoma winery

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20. Knitting Sheep and Throwing Muck!


Here is the latest piece of artwork from Class One Farmyard Fun!, hot off the press:


I am gradually creeping forwards, though it's taking longer than I would like. So many fiddly bits! I am rather pleased with the effect of the muck heap though. My favourite bit on this one is the knitting sheep though. And I really like how the cockerel colours contrast so well against the background:


This is spread 3, coming directly after the artwork I showed you last. You can see Julia's text on the rough which, as usual, was tacked to my drawing board directly above the artwork as I worked, to allow me to keep checking the details of what I was creating, because of course, when you use pastels, a lot of that detail from the pencil drawing gets obliterated:




It's useful, taking a photo of the artwork once it's done. I hadn't realised this before but, seeing it reduced like this really helps me to spot things I've missed. A book like this is a bit of a nightmare, making sure I have coloured every tiny shoe, not missed out any hands, left off any freckles etc. I can see, looking at this artwork, I have forgotten the eyebrows on the lad throwing the muck at his classmate, so he doesn't look quite naughty enough. I'll just go and fix that...

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21. Behind the Scenes Children’s Book Illustration

“How To” Library series published by The Child’s World.   I thought it might be fun show you a little behind the scenes look at a few of the children’s book illustrations I did  for this series of “How To” library books. You might have noticed that one of the sketches still shows the colored […]

The post Behind the Scenes Children’s Book Illustration appeared first on Bob Ostrom Studio .

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22. New MB Artists Catalog

Ahoy!  This quarter's theme was "Superheroes, Pirates and Princesses!"  Check out all of the beautiful and action-packed artwork!

https://view.publitas.com/mb-artists/superheroes-pirates-princesses/page/1

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23. Video: Author-Illustrator Marla Frazee

From Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations


Marla Frazee from Adam Goodwin on Vimeo.

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24. 2016: SCBWI Bologna Illustrator Interview: Paul O. Zelinsky

By Elisabeth Norton
for SCBWI Bologna 2016
and Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Paul O. Zelinsky grew up in Wilmette, Illinois; the son of a mathematics professor father and a medical illustrator mother. He drew compulsively from an early age, but did not know until college that this would be his career. 

As a sophomore at Yale College, he enrolled in a course on the history and practice of the picture book, co-taught by an English professor and Maurice Sendak. This experience inspired Paul to point himself in the direction of children's books. His first book appeared in 1978, since which time he has become recognized as one of the most inventive and critically successful artists in the field. 

He now lives with his wife in Brooklyn, New York. They have two grown daughters.

Among many other awards and prizes, he received the 1998 Caldecott Medal for his illustrated retelling of Rapunzel, as well as Caldecott Honors for three of his books: Hansel and Gretel (1985), Rumpelstiltskin (1987), and Swamp Angel (1995).

Spring is the season of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, so I thought I would focus on the business side of illustration today. Can you tell us about how you as an illustrator are selected to work on a picture book project?

Other than through the occasional subliminal suggestion I plant in the illustrations of my published books (painting “HIRE ME!” upside down in the trees outside of Rapunzel’s tower and so on), I don’t know how I get chosen.

My work looks awfully different from book to book, but I imagine that an editor or art director who ends up contacting me is thinking of one look in particular, and they might mention that to me, though they may not end up getting it. Also, from my third book on, I have tended to keep working with people I’ve worked with before, so those publishers know more what they’re getting into. On my end, what happens is that I get a call or an email. 

Could you describe your involvement in the process, from the time you are contacted about a new project, through the creation of the illustrations, to the finished book?

I usually want to stick my nose into all stages of the creation and production processes, but as I try to do it in a nice way and, I hope, not out of a personal need for control but in the spirit of collaboration, I’ve rarely had trouble.

So it usually begins for me when I get a phone call or email from a publisher, either asking if I’m available or just sending a manuscript, and I can sometimes tell pretty quickly if I think it’s a good idea for me on or not. Sometimes I don’t know and I mull.

My first criterion (and I’m sorry if this seems pompous) is whether the story makes me think that our overcrowded world, with no shortage of books in it already, would be notably worse off without this new addition. (Which is sort of like saying how much do I like it, but not quite). Then I imagine what kind of art I’d like to see illustrating the manuscript and at that point I can usually tell whether I’d get excited by the prospect of trying to make that kind of art.

Then, if it’s a go, come all the stages you probably know about in the making of an illustrated book. If it’s a picture book, that means breaking the manuscript up into pieces that fit in a 32- or 40-page book (publisher tells me what’s possible)—not a simple job if you want to do it right.

At the same time, I try to imagine the best size and proportion for this book, long before having any idea of the content of its pictures. Then with text decided for each spread I’ll very, very crudely rough out an array of thumbnail sketches, trying to establish the dynamic of the storytelling through the pictures, the content and composition of each illustration.

After or during that time, I’ll be casting around for what the characters should look like, and I’ll be thinking about the style I want the drawings to display. This is intimately connected to the choice of medium, so I’m thinking about that, too, and probably doing a lot of testing on scratch paper.

If I get the thumbnail sketches working, I’ll go to a full-sized, or at least not-so-little dummy, in black pencil, with text placed on the pages.

The dummy can be very rough, too, and I am generally willing to risk showing it to the publisher even before, say, I have any idea of what the characters will look like.

I like feedback, and things like pacing can be judged without other important features yet in place. I might also put the pictures together with text in InDesign, at least as a preliminary version before the art director gets to work on it.

When the designer does join in, I’ll want to be part of her or his process, too. Then there is research, refining sketches, working out color, checking with editor and art director all along, and working and working and working on finished art.

How involved is the art director or author in determining the style of the artwork for a particular project?

The style of my artwork has to be determined by me, to the extent that I can control it. I think the author should have a role in choosing an illustrator, and if there’s a wish to have the book look a certain way, that could be part of the manuscript’s presentation to me at the outset. But in fact this rarely happens. I think publishers are interested in seeing what I come up with.

It has happened that after seeing what I come up with, they aren’t convinced. Then it becomes a conversation, or a discussion, or a debate, in which at the end everybody needs to be on the same side. And I can be convinced that I was wrong, at least if I was wrong.

Do you ever revise your illustrations based on feedback from the art director or for other reasons?

I make lots of changes based on suggestions. Art directors and editors I work with often have great ideas that I didn’t think of, or can point out features in my drawings that I then realize were not so great. I believe we are all devoted, at base, to creating the best possible book. So if I’m given a suggestion that I don’t feel good about, I will say why, and another conversation can begin.

I will try to convince the other parties that I have important and valid reasons for seeing things my way, or point out (if it’s the case) that their suggestions might have problems they may not be considering, and at the same time they’ll do the same to me.

In the end, with very few, minor exceptions, I don’t think any book I’ve worked on has left anybody feeling that the wrong path was taken.

What is the typical timeline, from receiving a commission, to submitting the completed artwork to the publisher?

I’ve rarely managed to finish illustrating a book in less than a year. That has been about the average, I think, but I’m usually not able to start work on a manuscript right when I receive it, so it’s hard to pin down the time it takes when I’ve got a couple of projects waiting to be begun for a couple of years, and I’m already thinking about all of them a little.

You have said in the past that you have created many of your picture book illustrations using oil paints. When that is the case, how is the final artwork submitted to the publisher?

Art that isn’t digital to begin with needs to be scanned, and it is still the case that publishers use scanners or cameras of a higher quality than almost any individual illustrator would have access to.

I’ve talked to some younger illustrators who scan their reflective art and deliver electronically, without even considering that they could or should deliver the actual art on paper. That is really the preferable way to go. Oil paints have the reputation of not drying, but my oils are usually dry within a day, or at least dry to the touch. There is an additive you can put in your painting medium to speed the drying, and if I’m running very late I will sometimes mix in a little more of this desiccant, or I will avoid painting with pigments I know are slow-drying and favor the faster ones, if possible.

Although I won’t scan my own oil paintings (my scanner picks up reflections on oil paint’s shiny surface for every little textury bump in the paper), I’m not above asking for the high resolution files that the publisher gets from their scanner, and sometimes even before first proofs, going in digitally to fix things I didn’t manage to do correctly in the art.

After a book is released, what kinds of promotional activities do you as the illustrator engage in to support its release?

The more the merrier, I say. I’m on Twitter (@paulozelinsky) and Instagram (paulozelinsky) anyway, and while I don’t like self-promotional posts, when a new book is coming out, there is plenty of interesting information to share. I go on Facebook, too, but only privately for my personal account. I would prefer that people I don’t know personally “Like” my Facebook author page.

Z Is For Moose fabric, suitable size for quilt
I’ve had some ideas for contests and a raffle for prints of the cover art of a book. Sometimes the publisher has given me great support and help. But I’ve also done a raffle or two on my own.

In general I do these things because they seem like cool things to do; I don’t know if they have in any way helped sales—in fact I doubt it. Also, I like to create a repeating design based on almost every new book, and have it printed on fabric (at spoonflower.com). People can purchase it on their own, by the yard (though they don’t), and I can have some of made into a shirt or a vest (which I do). Not so long ago I couldn’t decide on color choices in one of these patterns, so I conducted an online vote; that was fun.

An additional layer of attention has sometimes become available to me that would be harder for most illustrators to garner, in that a few of these larks I’ve gone on were interesting enough that Publishers Weekly has written about them, or the Horn Book. But only after a friend pushed me into asking these journals if they’d like to write about it.

I’ve made ties that go with my books, as well as shirts and a couple of vests, and I wear this special apparel (in moderation!) whenever there’s an appropriate event.

And yes, school visits are great. I love to do them with or without a new book. There is nothing better than to see groups of children appreciating the very things you spent so much time and effort on in the solitude of your studio, a year or more earlier.

When it comes to visiting schools I tend to be passive, waiting to be asked, but it’s not out of line to approach and let schools know you’re available if they’re interested. School visits not related to a book tour are a source of income; as part of a book tour, arranged by an independent bookseller, I’m happy to give one presentation to a school, but not the three or four I’d give if it were a paid arrangement.

Are there some new releases we should look out for?

Actually, no. It will be a long time before anything new comes out. After the recent Toys Meet Snow, it’s going to be quite a while until the next thing.

But one brand-new release that is partly mine is the 75th anniversary edition of Make Way for Ducklings. I was very honored and excited (you can imagine) to be asked to draw a pictorial map of Boston that would be included with the book and a CD recording in a boxed set. That edition is just out now, I think.

I had a wonderful time researching what Boston looked like in 1941 (if felt like detective work), and illustrating parts of the story in the appropriate parts of my map, which is really an aerial view as much as it is a map. My drawing didn’t reproduce every single building in and around Beacon Hill, and I had to squash some blocks down in size for the picture to fit the proportions of the paper, but it’s pretty faithful to reality, I’d say.

You’re going to be one of our dueling illustrators at the SCBWI booth at the 2016 Bologna Children’s Book Fair. How often have you visited BCBF?

Publishers always told me, when I asked about Bologna, that going there was not something I would want to do, or should. It was only for brusque, publisher-to-publisher deal-making and if I went I would be in the way.

I first came to Bologna anyway in 2006, because after planning a family trip to Venice, I decided to look up the Bologna fair and discovered that it started immediately after we were going to leave Venice, and Bologna was an easy train trip away. And then a friend told me that SCBWI was holding a full-scale pre-conference in Bologna on the weekend leading up to the fair. I was able to get a spot on a panel, and then when I asked publishers again, they told me I should go after all, and helped me find a hotel room (almost impossible just a month before the fair). And I enjoyed it tremendously!

So after that first wonderful time there, I’ve been going back almost every other year, and continuing to enjoy it tremendously. Where else can you see virtually every children’s book published in the world in the previous year? I see a lot of editors that I know, as well as the great SCBWI community, so it’s an occasion to hang out with friends, and I must say that eating is a large part of the pleasure.

I think the Bologna fair has been changing, and now you see a greater presence of book creators among the sub-rights sales force and the editors. Mostly these are just people coming on their own, but now very occasionally they are even being sent by their publishers.

SCBWI isn’t putting on Bologna pre-conferences any longer, but they have an active booth at Bolognafiere every other year. Of course my favorite activity is the dueling illustrators tradition, which is huge fun. And this year the booth is bigger than ever before.

How can visits to fairs such as BCBF benefit an illustrator’s career?

I haven’t used my trips to the fair in a practical or useful way from the point of view of career-helping. But I’ve seen illustrators come away with publishing deals: it can happen though I’m not positive how it’s done.

SCBWI itself can facilitate this, because you can arrange for a period of time when you sit in the booth and basically represent your books to passersby like all of the other publishers with booths there.

There’s also a wall at the fair for illustrators to put up their promotional cards, and publishers look through them (although there are so many cards by the end of the fair that it seems like an awfully long shot).

European publishers set up periods for open portfolio-viewing, and illustrators line up with their work in hand, to be seen by an art director in the flesh.

Do you have any advice for a first-time visitor to BCBF?

If you have published already, and are thinking of visiting Bologna, definitely ask for advice from your U,S, publisher. If you have ever had a book picked up by a foreign publisher, it would be a great thing to arrange to meet that publisher’s representatives in Bologna. This will make you more of a real person to that publisher rather than just a subsidiary right they purchased.

SCBWI offers various good opportunities to get your work seen, so definitely arrange your visit with SCBWI in mind. Even if you’re not trying to network or push your career forward, hanging out (and eating out!) with SCBWI folk is reason enough to make the visit a fun time. Many but by no means all of them are of US origin, but they live all around the world.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Bologna, apart from visiting the BCBF?

Did I mention eating? Well, other than that, Bologna has some fantastic museums. Besides the main art museum (the Pinatoteca) there is a fabulous Medieval museum.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is a museum devoted entirely to the generally under-appreciated painter Morandi, although I think it may be closed temporarily and its collection shifted to the Modern Art Museum. There is plenty more to do in Bologna, and don’t forget about the eating.

People say that Bolognese food is the best in Italy, and although that kind of claim is sort of meaningless, it is probably also true.

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me today. It was great to see you at the Book Fair. I really enjoyed watching your duel with Doug Cushman at the SCBWI booth during the fair!

Thank you! The pleasure is mine.

Cynsational Notes

Elisabeth Norton grew up in Alaska, lived for many years and Texas, and after a brief sojourn in England, now lives with her family between the Alps and the Jura in Switzerland.

She writes for middle grade readers and serves as the regional advisor for the Swiss chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

When not writing, she can be found walking the dogs, playing board games, and spending time with family and friends. Find her on Twitter @fictionforge.

The Bologna 2016 Interview series is coordinated by Angela Cerrito, SCBWI’s Assistant International Advisor and a Cynsational Reporter in Europe and beyond.

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