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Results 26 - 45 of 45
26. Robert's Snow Auction Starts Today!

After weeks of reading about the Robert's Snow auction, your chance to own original art by children's book illustrators and help raise funds for cancer research at the same time, today's the day to take action!



I have a list of about 10 snowflakes in this week's auction that I'd be pleased to buy. Can I afford to buy even one? I have no idea! It depends how high the bidding goes. What about you? Do you have any favorites? In an effort to test the waters and learn how to just this nifty poll tool, will you answer the following questions?




Have you been reading the snowflake blog features?
Yes
No
Some of them










Did you bid on a snowflake last year?
Yes
No









Do you plan to bid on a snowflake this year?
Yes
No









What is the most you can spend on a snowflake?
$50-$75
$75-$100
$100-$150
$150-$200
Sky's the limit (don't we all wish!)









Do you already have a snowflake (or more than one) picked out?
Yes
No









How did you learn about the snowflake?
A feature on someone's blog about that specific snowflake
Exploring the Robert's Snow website
Other (please leave a comment giving more detail)








Thanks for participating! Good luck on winning the snowflake of your dreams!

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27. Let it Snow... Again!

In eight hours, I need to be on a train to New York for the NYS English Council Conference.  Am I packed?  Not quite.  But I really, really wanted to share what my students finished today.  When I signed up to participate in Blogging for a Cure to promote the Robert's Snow: For Cancer's Cure fund-raiser for the  Dana Farber Cancer Institute, I enlisted my 7th graders' help interviewing illustrators and writing features about them.  We interviewed:

I also wrote a grant so we could purchase wooden snowflakes and supplies to make our own ornaments to sell to raise money for the effort.  Look what my students did!



This is our snowflake board, where the ornaments are on sale for $5 each.  In a few weeks, we'll be sending our check to Dana Farber for cancer research, to go along with the thousands raised in the Robert's Snow Auction.




One of my students brought in origami paper and made tiny butterflies and cranes to decorate her snowflake.





I love the creative ideas they came up with.  Just like real snowflakes, no two were alike...



I'm convinced that the artist of the snowflake below is going to publish a graphic novel some day...



Another work in progress...











The kids worked hard today and were SO excited to join the ranks of artists working for a cure for cancer.  We'll post an update when we have a final amount for our donation!

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28. Robert's Snow...Meet Illustrator Amy Young!

Today, as part of Blogging for a Cure,  we're featuring illustrator Amy Young and the snowflake she created for Robert's Snow -- a fantastic fund-raiser for cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Blogger's Note:  I'm a children's author and a middle school English teacher, so my students are collaborating on our series of illustrator profiles! Today's feature is courtesy of the Global Citizens in 3rd period English class!

Amy L. Young grew up in Watertown, MA. She started drawing at the age of three, and as she grew up, she dreamed of being an artist.  By going to the Cleveland Institute of Art for two years and then Yale, she accomplished this goal. Later on, her first book, Belinda the Ballerina, was published in 2003.  Like Belinda, Amy Young took dance lessons at the age of seven. She also wrote and illustrated two other books -- Belinda in Paris and Belinda and the Glass Slipper.  Her three books do not just attract young, enthusiastic dancers. They also attract adults and other children because of her wit and comedy.  Amy L. Young is a very talented writer and illustrator.

We had a chance to interview Amy about her snowflake and her work.

Globals:  First of all, we were enchanted by your snowflake. What was the inspiration for that design?  What made you think of Emmalina the Mud Fairy and the sunflower that you chose?

Amy: I'm glad you like my snowflake! Emmalina is a character from THE MUD FAIRY, a book I have written which will be published by BloomsburyUSA at some point (no publication date yet).  Emmalina is sort of a tom-boy fairy, who would rather stomp in mud puddles and play with frogs than be all delicate and dainty. But she does still take an occasional nap on a flower, as you see on the snowflake. The idea of  the sunflower just came to me as I was thinking about it. That's often how I get my best ideas; it's kind of like magic.



Globals: Why are you participating in Robert's Snow?   Do you have family/friends who have been affected by cancer?

Amy:  It is a great opportunity to do what I do best, and have it benefit a good cause. I really like that the entire illustration community has risen to the occasion to contribute. It feels good to be a part of a such a  large, generous community. And yes, I have lost loved ones to cancer: two aunts, and, most recently, a very dear friend. It is a cruel disease, and I like to think I might have some small part in fighting it.

Globals: Why do you like illustrating so much, and what inspired you to become an illustrator and writer?

Amy: I remember being in nursery school when I was three years old, gluing one piece of paper to another, and saying, "I am going to be an artist when I grow up." I have no idea why I have always felt such a strong connection to making images, but it seems to satisfy a need. I have always liked writing, and making picture books seemed the 
perfect way to combine those two things.

Globals: When you were young, what else did you want to be when you grew up?

Amy: Actually, nothing!

Globals: We're looking forward to reading about Belinda. What made you want to write about a ballerina?

Amy: The first Belinda story came to me in a flash -- it was as though I didn't make it up myself. It was just there. Looking back, I think I liked the idea of a ballerina with big feet. It was a funny image. But I also liked that she was incredibly graceful in spite of, or perhaps because of, her feet. It was a change to gently poke fun at 
people's prejudices and assumptions.

Globals: Are the ballerina books autobiographical at all? Did you write about Belinda having big feet because you do?

Amy: In most ways I am not like Belinda: I have small, wide feet, like a duck; I am not as shy as Belinda is, and I probably have a bit more of a temper;  I had never taken a ballet class before doing the first book. In spite of those differences, there is one major trait that Belinda and I have in common: I love doing art as much as she loves dancing. Interestingly, Belinda's love of dancing has rubbed off on me -- I now take ballet.

Globals: What's your favorite book that you wrote or illustrated?


Amy: I don't have a favorite, but right now I am very excited about the next Belinda book, which will come out on Valentine's Day. It is called Belinda Begins Ballet, and tells the story of how Belinda started dancing when she was a girl.

Globals: We read on your website that you've had a wide variety of jobs and even went to law school before your became an illustrator. Why did you decide to study law, and what made you leave it?

Amy: Well, I panicked. I didn't think that I would be able to make a living doing art, so I looked for something else. My father is a lawyer, and he loves his job, so I thought "I'll try that!" I was a lawyer for seven years. There was a lot that I liked about being a lawyer, but I really missed doing art -- just the way Belinda missed dancing. (Ah, there's the autobiographical part!)

Globals: We also noted that you didn't care for waitressing. How come?

Amy: I waitressed in a pizza place in a big city. When things got busy we were frantic trying to get everyone served, and some of the customers treated us as if we were barely human. Just not my cup of tea.

Globals: Now the rapid-fire questions...things that kids (and grownups who are just big kids) need to know!  What's your favorite book ever?

Amy: I really don't have one favorite book. I like so many books, and different books suit different moods.

Globals: What was your greatest accomplishment in life?

Amy: Wow. That's a toughie. I think it is sort of amazing that I managed to get through Harvard Law School (I worked very hard!), but in a way I would say getting my first book published was a bigger accomplishment, because it was closer to my heart.

Globals: Do you like sushi?

Amy: Yes!

Globals: What's your most embarrassing moment (that you're willing to share)?

Amy: That would be eleventh grade math class. I was the only one who got the answer to one of the homework problems, and I was asked to go up in front of the whole class and explain how I did it. So I did, but it turns out my method was all wrong and really pretty stupid. There was this terrible awkward silence, and a few people tittered, and I really did wish I could sink into the floor and just disappear. The funny thing is that now it would take a whole lot more than that to embarrass me. I like to laugh at myself, and it makes life a lot more fun.

Globals: Have you ever ridden a horse?

Amy: Yes, but I would rather pat one and feed it and brush it and tell it how lovely it is, instead of riding it. 

Globals: What's your biggest fear?

Amy: That I will be in the middle of a big presentation and my slides or PowerPoint will fail me. It's not that I'd be embarrassed so much as I wouldn't know what to do, because showing people images of what I do is so much a part of how I present material. I guess I would manage, but it would not be good.

Globals: Your favorite dessert?

Amy: Anything with chocolate!

Globals: Thanks, Amy, for taking the time to visit with us, and thanks for giving of your time and talents for the Robert's Snow project!

Amy: Thank YOU! One of the things I love about what I do is making contact with people like you!

Here is your chance to win a signed copy of one of Amy's books from the Belinda series.  All you have to do is leave a comment on one of the snowflakes from Auction #3, and we'll enter you in a drawing for that signed book. You can also visit Amy Young's website to learn more about her work.

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29. Robert's Snow: Mike Wohnoutka



I had heard of Mike Wohnoutka and seen several of his enticing, saturated-with-color books. 



But I don't know if I had ever officially met him before a Children's Literature Network event last year. Arthur Levine came to Minneapolis and sat down for a conversation with 30 or so local published authors and illustrators. Then most of us headed across the street for dinner. I sat at an empty end of the horseshoe-shaped dinner table and won the dinner-seat lottery. I spent the next couple of hours chatting with Arthur Levine, his cousin (a teacher, I believe, in Wisconsin), and Mike Wohnoutka. Mike was funny, soft-spoken, and gracious, and we all had great conversation about children's books (not to mention a tasty cheese plate).

So I was happy to pick him as one of the local illustrators I wanted to feature here on Blogging for a Cure, an orchestrated bloggers' effort to help raise funds for cancer research by spreading the word about Robert's Snow.

About Mike

Mike is the illustrator of many children's books, including the award-winning Davey's Blue-Eyed
Frog
, by Patricia Harrison Easton and his most recent, When the Wizzy Foot Goes Walking, by Roni Schotter. He is also a regular contributor to the Cricket Magazine Group.  Mike has been busy in his studio and will have two new books coming out in 2008.

Even though Mike was a trouble maker [Laura: no, it can't be!] when he was in grade school, and thus gets a little nervous around principals, he still enjoys visiting schools and talking to students about illustrating children's books. 

He grew up in Spicer, Minnesota, and now has made his home in Minneapolis with his wife, son and brand new daughter.

About the Snowflake 

 

Isn't it gorgeous? I love these snowflakes that really celebrate the joy of winter. I think the rest of the country thinks we in Minnesota hunker down and feel miserable for six months of the year. That is just not true! Here's what Mike had to say about his snowflake.

How did you (honestly) feel when you were approached to participate in Robert’s Snow?

I was honored to be asked again, but at the same time I felt overwhelmed with work and didn’t feel I was going to have the time this year.  Then I realized this was a perfect opportunity to make a little difference by being a published children’s book illustrator, so I was happy to make it  a priority.


Which of your books is your snowflake most “like”?

When I painted the snowflake I had just finished a new picture book that comes out in February called Mama’s Little Duckling.  It has a softer, more atmospheric quality than my other books.


How did you come up with the idea for your snowflake?

The snowflakes are small,  so I wanted to do something fairly simple and graphic.  I decided a snowman would be fun.


What did you think about while you were working on it?

I kept thinking that I want to keep this simple and not worry about the details.  The mood was most
important.



What medium is your snowflake?

Acrylics


More About Mike

6 Words to Describe His Art and Style




6 Highlights of His Career


1. My senior year in high school won a statewide art contest with a drawing I did of my dad. This led to a scholarship to the Savannah College of Art and Design.

2. Meeting David Shannon my freshman year in college. After seeing his presentation I knew I wanted to be an illustrator.

3. Doing a cover illustration for Spider magazine. 

4. When Random House called me to illustrate my first book,
Counting Sheep.

5. Meeting editor Michelle Copella at a  SCBWI conference. I illustrated three books with her.

6. Visiting New York last fall and meeting with 12 publishers.

 
Mike has a truly excellent website, and I hope you'll visit it and browse through all the great art and info. But here are 6 facts about Mike that you won't learn from that site:

1. We just had a baby girl, Olivia, at the end of October.

2. I share a studio with 8 other artists in Northeast Minneapolis in the
Northrup King Building.

3. I enjoy running, reading, doing crossword puzzles and playing softball.

4. My favorite TV show is
The Office

5. I come from a large family. I have three brothers and three sisters.

6. I love being a dad.
 

I love the joy in Mike's snowman, the feeling that he's about to dance right off the page. In that spirit, I wrote a silly snowman poem (all three of the illustrators I've featured have used snowmen on their flakes, and I'm starting to feel quite a camaraderie with them, especially since I sat here this morning watching the first snow fly).

  

Feel free to email Mike to let him know what you think of his snowflake. Like many of us, he's juggling work and (new) parenthood, and you know how nice a few pats on the back are!

And the Robert's Snow auctions start on Monday, November 19. Have you picked the flake(s) you want to bid on yet? There are so many cool ones. This year I'm determined to snag one. Outta my way!

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30. Robert's Snow: Final Week

As you know if you've been visiting any children's book blogs for the past few weeks, Robert's Snow is an online auction that benefits Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Over 200 children's book illustrators have created art on individual snowflake-shaped wooden templates. The snowflakes will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to cancer research. You can view all of the 2007 snowflakes here. Jules and Eisha from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast have found a way for bloggers to help with this effort, by blogging about individual illustrators and their snowflakes. The idea is to drive traffic to the Robert's Snow site so that many snowflakes will be sold, and much money raised to fight cancer. The illustrator profiles have been wonderful so far - diverse and creative and colorful. And there are lots more to go.



Here's the schedule for Week 5, which starts Monday. As previously, this early schedule links to the participating blogs, instead of to the individual posts. You can find links to the posts themselves, and any last-minute updates, each morning at 7-Imp. Jules and Eisha have also set up a special page at 7-Imp containing a comprehensive list of links to the profiles posted so far. Also not to be missed is Kris Bordessa's post summarizing snowflake-related contests to date over at Paradise Found.



Monday, November 12





Tuesday, November 13





Wednesday, November 14





Thursday, November 15





Friday, November 16





Saturday, November 17





Sunday, November 18





Please take time out to visit all of these blogs, and read about these fabulous illustrators. And, if you're so inclined, think about bidding for a snowflake in the Robert's Snow auction. Each snowflake makes a unique gift (for yourself or for someone else), and supports an important cause.



See also the following note from Elaine Magliaro of Wild Rose Reader:

Note to Blog Readers about Blogging for a Cure: When Jules of 7-Imp put out her call in September for bloggers to interview/feature artists who had created snowflakes for Robert’s Snow 2007 at their blogs, a number of artists had not yet sent in their snowflakes to Dana-Farber. As time was of the essence to get Blogging for a Cure underway, we worked with the list of artists whose snowflakes were already in possession of Dana-Farber. Therefore, not all the participating artists will be featured. This in no way diminishes our appreciation for their contributions to this worthy cause. We hope everyone will understand that once the list of artists was emailed to bloggers and it was determined which bloggers would feature which artists at their blogs, a schedule was organized and sent out so we could get to work on Blogging for a Cure ASAP. Our aim is to raise people’s awareness about Robert’s Snow and to promote the three auctions. We hope our efforts will help to make Robert’s Snow 2007 a resounding success.

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31. Robert's Snow: Spotlighting Jane Dyer



Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make contact with Jane Dyer, but I still have the opportunity to spotlight the truly wonderful snowflake she created for Robert's Snow: For Cancer's Cure entitled "Baby Snowflake". I wish I knew how to make the background of the post dark, so you could get a better view of this unique beauty. Jane Dyer's snowflake will be up for auction Nov 26th-30th.


According to Little, Brown and Company, "Jane Dyer always wanted to be a teacher...She wrote and illustrated lesson activities for teachers to accompany a new reading program being developed for Addison-Wesley. But it was Jane’s special gift for illustration that soon led to trade book work with numerous publishers."

Here are some of my favorite books she has made beautiful through her art.







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32. Presenting Sheila Bailey!



(is this a cute illustrator photo, or what?)

I was drawn to Sheila's work by her use of rich, warm colors, and the whimsical faces and topics of her books. She creates her images using a combination of watercolor and digital media. Sheila is a recipient of the iParenting Media Award and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Portfolio Award. To date, she has illustrated 26 books for children.(WOW!)

Sheila was kind enough to share a little information about her work with me.

How did you learn about Robert's Snow?

I belonged to a web group with Grace. When she told us about Robert,
we all felt so sad and frustrated and helpless. Who would have known
that Grace would turn all of this into something that would do so much good.

Can you tell us a little about the image on your snowflake?

Well, both my good friend's mom and my cousin's son lost their battle
with brain cancer. I was thinking about what I would most like to do
with them if I had 10 more minutes with them. (then I added some
snow.)

How did you come to be an illustrator?

I just never wanted to do anything else. I have had some really good jobs
but Illustration is what I love. I always have gone back to it.

(A little background on those other good jobs--Sheila holds a B.S. in graphic design from the San Jose State University. She began her career as a commercial artist, creating cards for Hallmark and Will Vinton Productions of Portland, Oregon. Her images have appeared in Forbes, The Oregonian, and Fine Cooking Magazine. She's also done work on Harry Potter merchandise--3D characters and sets for Harry Potter 3D Windows, a Viewmaster toy from Fisher Price/Mattel released in the summer of 2001.)

What were the biggest influences on your illustration style?

Oh my! there are so many wonderful illustrators out there. I pore over
other artists' work every day. But the 3 artists I have always gone back
to were Edmund Dulac, Jessie Wilcox-Smith and Kay Nielsen.

Great choices! Those are some of my favorites, as well.
What kind of themes do you try to adddress in your work?

Well, I am a gardening and animal fanatic. I have weird plants from all
over the world and A LOT of odd pets. I like to paint plants and
animals. If I paint a leaf I don't want it to be just a leaf but a
Something a child can recognize if they go outside. I also love to
read. I am so happy to be able to help reading be a part of children's
lives.

I'd love to hear more about those odd pets! Plants and animals do sometimes work their way into her stories...



In
The Wizard and King Whifflegroan (coauthored with Larry Miller), a wizard agrees to banish all the flies from the kingdom of a bath-refusing king-- on the condition that when he changes his mind, he agrees to take a bath every day for the rest of his life. First the spiders leave, due to a lack of flies, and then the swallows leave, due to a lack of spiders... Eventually the king is left with an empty kingdom, and takes back his wish. Sheila noted that she was prompted to do this book out of desire to write a child-friendly book about the environment.

What is your favorite published project?

Spaghetti and Peas!! I loved working on that book!!

(and here it is-- it looks like a fun project!)

Spaghetti and Peas (Flashlight Press, 2004)...a girl helps a mother snake find her babies (in the toybox!) while her dad is busy making spaghetti with peas. A great story for the snake-phobic, as you can't help but love these characters.

What's your favorite work in progress?

I have been working on a book called the Bear's violin. I work on it
when I have down time or am frustrated by revisions. Now and then I can
just sit down and say to myself this is how I see things. This is what
looks good to me. I doubt I will ever send it to a publisher because
every time I look at the work i feel I need to change it. Alas, I am my
own worst art director.

I hope she does decide to submit it somewhere eventually!
Here's a spread from that story:

Wouldn't you love to see the rest of this? I would!

Your favorite medium?

Water color Love it love it love it !!

This is Frosty's Moon,
done by Sheila Bailey.



It will be available during the second Robert's Snow auction period, November 26-30th.

Don't miss your chance to own it!


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33. Readergirlz and Robert's Snow

Here now is a special preview of next month's issue of readergirlz.

Every month, we have a special shoutout sidebar recognizing a woman who has made a difference and made a name for herself. In the November 2007 issue, the readergirlz give a shoutout to Grace Lin, author and illustrator of more than a dozen highly acclaimed picture books. Grace Lin's book, ROBERT'S SNOW, was dedicated to her husband who was battling Ewing's sarcoma. Inspired by the book, the couple later founded Robert's Snow: for Cancer's Cure.

Since it was launched in 2004 the Robert’s Snow: for Cancer's Cure event has raised more than $200,000 for sarcoma research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Robert lost his valiant battle against cancer and passed away in August. This year, the fundraiser for the cure continues as bloggers build the buzz (here's my contribution!) for all the artists and illustrators creating new snowflakes for the online auction.

The Danforth Museum in Framingham will feature the snowflakes from October 31st through December 2nd, 2007. The Robert's Snow Artist Reception will be held at the museum on November 4th from 2 to 4 PM.

The new issue will be posted at the readergirlz website on November 1st. In the meantime, please help yourself to 31 Flavorite Authors, a tasty treat for readers and writers alike which is happening every night in October.

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34. Robert's Snow Week Three!



Here we go again. Another wonderful week of illustrator features to benefit Robert's Snow to raise money for cancer research at Dana-Farber! Please note that I will be featuring Sylvia Long (of An Egg is Quiet fame) here on Friday!

(Many, many thanks to Jen Robinson for preparing the html codes for the schedule and the intro/end notes again this week! She saved me SO MUCH time!)

As you know if you've been visiting any children's book blogs for the past few weeks, Robert's Snow is an online auction that benefits Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Over 200 children's book illustrators have created art on individual snowflake-shaped wooden templates. The snowflakes will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to cancer research. You can view all of the 2007 snowflakes here. Jules and Eisha from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast have found a way for bloggers to help with this effort, by blogging about individual illustrators and their snowflakes. The idea is to drive traffic to the Robert's Snow site so that many snowflakes will be sold, and much money raised to fight cancer. The illustrator profiles have been wonderful so far - diverse and creative and colorful. And there are lots more to go.



Here's the schedule for Week 3, which starts Monday. As previously, this early schedule links to the participating blogs, instead of to the individual posts. You can find links to the posts themselves, and any last-minute updates, each morning at 7-Imp. Jules and Eisha have also set up a special page at 7-Imp containing a comprehensive list of links to the profiles posted so far. Also not to be missed is Kris Bordessa's post summarizing snowflake-related contests to date over at Paradise Found.



Monday, October 29





Tuesday, October 30





Wednesday, October 31





Thursday, November 1





Friday, November 2





Saturday, November 3





Sunday, November 4





Please take time out to visit all of these blogs, and read about these fabulous illustrators. And, if you're so inclined, think about bidding for a snowflake in the Robert's Snow auction. Each snowflake makes a unique gift (for yourself or for someone else), and supports an important cause.



See also the following note from Elaine Magliaro of Wild Rose Reader:

Note to Blog Readers about Blogging for a Cure: When Jules of 7-Imp put out her call in September for bloggers to interview/feature artists who had created snowflakes for Robert’s Snow 2007 at their blogs, a number of artists had not yet sent in their snowflakes to Dana-Farber. As time was of the essence to get Blogging for a Cure underway, we worked with the list of artists whose snowflakes were already in possession of Dana-Farber. Therefore, not all the participating artists will be featured. This in no way diminishes our appreciation for their contributions to this worthy cause. We hope everyone will understand that once the list of artists was emailed to bloggers and it was determined which bloggers would feature which artists at their blogs, a schedule was organized and sent out so we could get to work on Blogging for a Cure ASAP. Our aim is to raise people’s awareness about Robert’s Snow and to promote the three auctions. We hope our efforts will help to make Robert’s Snow 2007 a resounding success.

Add a Comment
35. Robert's Snow...Meet Illustrator Shawna Tenney!


Today's illustrator feature for the Robert's Snow: For Cancer's Cure Fundraiser is Shawna Tenney, an artist with a gift for whimsy and, as you'll see in her snowflake, a child's playfulness.

Blogger's Note:  I'm a children's author and a middle school English teacher, so my students are collaborating on our series of illustrator profiles. Today's feature is courtesy of the Global Citizens in 3rd period English class.



Shawna Tenney has illustrated many books, such as Allie's Bike, Treasure Island, Oliver Twist, A Very Strange Place, and In the Sun.

   

She first wanted to be a ballerina, but finding out it wasn't made for her, she discovered writing and illustrating.  She now lives in Utah with her husband, Warren, and two daughters, Cassidy and Madeline, and don't forget Bongo the Cat!

  


We interviewed Shawna Tenney.  Here are our questions and her answers:




First of all, please tell us about your snowflake. Where did the idea for the frog fairy come from?

Well, sometimes I don't really know where my ideas come from.  I was looking at my snowflake, and all I could see was a big beehive hairdo and wings.  A fat frog lady hopped in there randomly.

Why did you join the Robert's Snow fundraiser?

I found out about it on a friend's blog, and really wanted to participate, mostly because my mom is a breast cancer survivor.  I was very excited to participate in a fund raiser for cancer research in which I could use my talents.   I dedicated my snowflake to my mom and my good friend Amber, an 11 year old who has leukemia.

Why do you like being an illustrator?

Wow, what is there not to like.  I can stay at home with my kids while I work and make my own schedule (although at times this can be a challenge).  I get paid for doing something I love to do.

How much practice does it take to be an illustrator? 

Well, I have a bachelor's degree, so I have had as much schooling as most other professionals.  I have always loved drawing and have been doing it since I was very little.  It takes many hours to complete a painting.  First I have to get the sketch just right with a composition I am happy with.  Then I have to transfer that sketch onto a board.  Sometimes I do a color study on the computer to decide what colors I am going to use.  Then the painting itself takes many many hours.

How many paintings have you done?  Do you have a favorite?

Oh goodness, I have done countless paintings.  I have big bins full of old paintings.  I kind of stick to one style now, but I've gone through many different styles and mediums.  I think one of my favorite paintings right now is "The Queen of Sheep-baa." 



I really like making animal characters and want to do many more, maybe even someday a book with some fun animal characters.

Where do you get your inspirations for paintings? Do you ever get ideas from your family?

I am inspired by many great artists and illustrators.  As for my ideas, I get those from many things including things I used to imagine as a child, and things that are going on with my family.  Sometimes my imagination comes up with things out of nowhere.  A lot of the time I am doing jobs for a client and they tell me what to draw (which is certainly not as fun).  I really like fairy tales.  I like to modernize them and make them silly.  In fact, I'm working on a whole new website based on silly fairy tales.  Come back and visit my website in a couple months to see what I mean.  My little three year old, Cassidy, is really into fairy tales, so some of the things she enjoys inspire me.  Some of the things she says and does give me ideas for stories that I would like to write and illustrate.  My husband also helps me think of ideas.  He is a graphic designer, so he helps critique my work and helps me improve things.
 
Do you feel like you have a particular style of illustrating, and if so, how would you describe it?

I feel like I have my own children's storybook style.  I guess if I were to describe it, I would say, clean, detailed,colorful and whimsical with interesting angles and compositions (at least that's what I'm shooting for. . .).

Which do you prefer to draw - fantasy pictures or realistic ones?

Definitely fantasy.  I love making up my own worlds where anything can happen.
 
What medium do you usually paint in?

Acrylic Paints.  I do some black and white work with charcoal pencils and micron pens.

Have you ever thought about writing your own book? What would it be about?

Yes, I've actually written a few of my own, but have never gotten a story good enough to send out.  I think I would enjoy writing a picture book about a crazy fairy tale or about animal characters.

Now the rapid-fire questions...things that kids (and adults who think like them) need to know!

What is your favorite painter or painting of all time, and why?

How can I pick one?  Well, one of my favorites would be John William Waterhouse.  His skin tones are beautiful and I love his style and the way he applied his paint.  His subject matter was usually fairy-talesque.   There are countless other painters and illustrators I greatly admire.  A current artist I love is James Christensen.  If you saw his work, you would probably know why.

Favorite book ever?

Oh goodness, I can't just choose one.  I of course love the Harry Potter series.  One book I read recently that I thoroughly enjoyed is The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale.  As for illustrated children's books, there are too many to count, but my favorite author/illustrators are Dr. Seuss and Chris Van Allsburg.

Your favorite kind of pie?

Banana Cream Pie.   Mmmmmmmmm!

Favorite sport?

Well, sorry folks, I'm not much of a sports fan.  I do enjoy watching some sports.  Actually, I'm more into dance, if you can count that as a sport.  I was actually thinking of being a ballet teacher in my earlier years before I decided to become an illustrator.

Your website gives your name as Shawna J.C. Tenney. What does the JC stand for?

Shawna Jean Calder Tenney
 
Favorite animal?

Sea Lions

Favorite color?

I don't think it is legal for an illustrator to choose just one favorite color.

We read about your cat on your website. How come you chose Bongo as his name?

We found Bongo in my parent in law's window well.  He was a sweet little orange kitten.  My husband chose Bongo as his name and  it stuck.

Has your cat Bongo ever helped with a painting?  Or ruined a painting?

Bongo posed for the cat talking on the phone on my website, although he was very embarrassed to have to dress up like a girl.  Sometimes Bongo tries to bite my feet while I'm painting.  Sometimes he tries to jump up on my lap or drink my painting water.  One time he stepped in my pallet and walked over my painting.  That wasn't the worst I've had though.  Cassidy who is now three has painted on several of my paintings that I had to get to clients.  Fortunately acrylics are forgiving and I was able to fix them.  Madeline, my one year old, hasn't ruined any paintings. . .yet.


 Thanks, Shawna, for taking the time to visit with us, and thanks for giving your time and talents for the Robert's Snow project!

Thank you!  It was really fun.  What a fun project for your classes to do!  Hope you're all having a great year



Please be sure to check out Shawna's snowflake and all of the amazing work at the Robert's Snow Auction Site.

And...to be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Allie's Bike and a print signed by Shawna Tenney, please post a comment below, mentioning one of your favorite snowflakes in the Robert's Snow fundraiser.  You don't have to have a blog to win, but be sure we have a way to get in touch with you.  A winner will be drawn in early December, after the auction.


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36. Robert's Snow: Interview with Sylvia Long

I'm excited to have author/illustrator Sylvia Long here today for a blog interview. Sylvia Long is one of the many wonderful illustrators who has generously donated an original snowflake for the Robert's Snow auction to raise money for cancer research. Keep reading for a sneak peak at the snowflake!



1. How did you get involved in writing and illustrating?

It was an off-shoot of my 'regular art', but once I got the kid's book bug, I couldn't shake it. It's what I was meant to do all along.

2. What advice do you have for those of us who are trying to break into the world of writing for children?

1. Hone your skills. There's no shortcut.
2. Do your homework when ready to submit to publishers. Get Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' Market.
3. Don't get discouraged. It can take awhile.

3. What artists/writers have influenced your work?

Ernest Shepard, Beatrix Potter, Jane Dyer, Lisbeth Zwerger

4. What are some of your favorite picture books now and from your childhood?

All the A.A. Milne books (Christopher Robin, Pooh, et.al.), Wind in the Willows, Peter Rabbit. Current favs: All of David Wiesner's books.

5. Do you have a favorite book among the ones you have worked on?

hmm... A favorite is hard. Hush Little Baby and Sylvia Long's Mother Goose.

6. Was there a particular book that was difficult for you to make work? How did you overcome the difficulties?

My first two non-fiction books were a challenge. [An Egg is Quiet and A Seed is Sleepy] I worked with an excellent editor and book designer to solve the difficulties. 



7. Do you have any personal experiences with cancer?

Everyone does, I'm guessing. Three of my four grandparents died of cancer and 4 friends. My dad currently has cancer. On the more optimistic side, I also have 3 girl friends who are breast cancer survivors!



8. Please tell us a little bit about your snowflake.

I re-painted an image similar to one in Deck the Hall, publ. in 2000, but now out-of-print. Growing up in Iowa, I loved coming home from ice-skating on the flooded tennis courts, to hot cocoa and cookies. It's a fond memory and I like bringing those into my books when I can.

9. Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Just that you folks organizing and accomplishing this huge effort in fund-raising are amazing, generous people. My hat is off to you all. Everyone could take a lesson from "Robert's Snow" in how to make a difference in the world.

Thanks, Sylvia! And let me just say, I am a HUGE fan of An Egg is Quiet and A Seed is Sleepy. What beautiful, educational books they are!

Please take time out to visit all of these blogs, and read about these fabulous illustrators. And, if you're so inclined, think about bidding for a snowflake in the Robert's Snow auction. Each snowflake makes a unique gift (for yourself or for someone else), and supports an important cause.




 

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37. laurasalas @ 2007-11-04T08:13:00

 

 Lauren Stringer  


 

Lauren is a Minnesota author/illustrator who’s participating in Robert’s Snow this year! Two of my favorite books that she illustrated are Our Family Tree (by Lisa Westberg Peters) and Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs (by Linda Ashman). The beautiful Winter Is the Warmest Season, which came out in 2006, was her first book that she’s both wrote and illustrated.



Q&A about Lauren’s snowflake:

How did you (honestly) feel when you were approached to participate in Robert’s Snow?

This was my second time to paint a snowflake, so I was surprised and honored to be asked again. I was just finishing the illustrations for Snow, so it felt very natural to be painting another snowflake. I have never met Grace and Robert in person, but Grace Lin’s correspondence with me has been so warm and full of a vision and hope. I was so sad to read of Robert’s death. More than ever, I am honored to be a part of this project.

Which of your books is your snowflake most “like”?

Winter is the Warmest Season is the theme of the snowflake. I even wrote it on the snowflake because it is such a wonderful sentiment and a little joke too. We all know winter is the coldest season (at least in Minnesota!), so when you look at the cold outside of the snowflake you wonder, what could possibly be warm about winter? And then you turn it over and there is a huge cup of hot cocoa!

How did you come up with the idea for your snowflake?

I wanted to paint a snowflake with two opposing sides that were equally strong—using images from Winter is the Warmest Season was a natural choice.

Here’s Lauren's (maybe yours?) gorgeous snowflake!

 

What did you think about while you were working on it?

I was thinking It is so hot and dry this August, I wonder if this is due to global warming? I sure hope winter doesn’t really become the warmest season!

What medium is your snowflake?

Acrylic and gesso

Can you share a little about your artistic process on your snowflake?

It was interesting composing on a six-pointed shape. I loved painting the warm-side. I loved painting the color yellow. Lots of yellow.

Anything you’d like to say directly to the people who might be inspired to bid on your snowflake?

Hang this snowflake somewhere to remind you of the warmth of winter for whenever the cold winter blues hit. It works. Really.

 


Growing up in Florida made me someone who really appreciates all of the seasons, including winter! Lauren’s lovely snowflake got me thinking about all of the wondrous warm moments of January. I got so carried away, I wrote three different poems. But here’s my favorite:



More about Lauren:

Ever since she could hold a crayon, Lauren Stringer wanted to be an artist. (Although when she was in the second grade she wanted to be a deep-sea diver.) She received her BA in Art and Art History from the University of California, Santa Cruz and continued her art education with the Whitney Museum of American Art, Independent Study Program in NYC. She exhibited her paintings and sculptures in museums and galleries until 1994 when she painted her first children’s book, Mud, written by Mary Lyn Ray, which won the Minnesota Book Award, the IRA Children’s Choice Award, and Crayola Kids Best Book of the Year Award. Since Mud, she has painted many award-winning picture books including Our Family Tree, written by Lisa Westberg Peters and Fold Me A Poem, written by Kristine O’Connell George. Winter is the Warmest Season, the first book both authored and illustrated by Stringer was a Booklist Editor’s Choice for 2006. Snow, written by Cynthia Rylant, will be published fall 2008. She is currently illustrating One Night, written by Wendy Orr. Lauren Stringer lives and paints in a huge old Victorian house in Minneapolis, Minnesota,  with her husband, their two children, and three cats.

6 highlights in my illustration and writing journey (to echo the 6 points of the snowflake):

1. When I was an au pair in Paris at the age of 20, I went to the Centre Pompidou to see “real art”. In the lower level there was a magical exhibition of children’s book illustration with lots of originals and books in cases that in a jungle environment like Where the Wild Things Are.  I was enchanted.

2. Years ago, I was driving with Debra Frasier to work in a school together and she let me read her yet to be published manuscript, On the Day You Were Born. After reading it I cried, it was so beautiful. I had been a grown up for so long that I had forgotten how beautiful children’s books could be. 

3. Receiving the manuscript for Mud, by Mary Lyn Ray, in the mail. I had never seen a children’s book manuscript before and I thought it would be big and thick —but it was merely 2 pages long and this made me laugh. The day it arrived in May when I was digging in the garden with my daughter—we were covered in mud. It was a story with a destiny for me.

4. When Mud was published, I was going to return to my life as a “real artist” (painting and sculpture.), when my editor called and read the entire manuscript of Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant on the phone. Once again I cried. I remembered how beautiful a children’s book could be. 

5. Doing the research for Our Family Tree by Lisa Westberg Peters, was life-changing for me. Reading about and understanding 4.5 billion years of the history of life on earth and then trying to illustrate it (and Lisa’s beautiful text) became a spiritual journey I still have not recovered from, thankfully.

6. Several years ago, I met for coffee with two writer friends. We decided to start a writer’s group. It would be my first. We would call ourselves the “Inkslingers.” I was so excited to have my first writer’s group that I went home and wrote for three days. I loved what I wrote so much that I sent it to my editor and she loved it enough to say right away, let’s publish it. At the second meeting of Inkslingers, we had champagne to celebrate the publishing of Winter is the Warmest Season!

6 words that describe my art and/or artistic process?

6 things you don’t know about me and can’t learn from my site:

1. I love doing yoga.

2. I wish my studio were in a big old barn in the country.

3. I have lived in many places, but I still feel like a California-girl, even though I was born in Montana.

4. Honeycrisp apples are my favorite kind of apples.

5. My favorite color is green. My favorite color to paint is yellow. My least favorite color to paint is blue.

6. My favorite poet is Gerard Manley Hopkins.
 

I hope you’ve liked learning about Lauren and her passion for art and children’s literature. If you have any questions or comments for her, you can email her here.

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38. Robert's Snow Illustrator Spotlights Week 4

This week's schedule and commentary come courtesy of The Miss Rumphius Effect. Many THANKS to Tricia!

"As you know if you've been visiting any children's book blogs for the past few weeks, Robert's Snow is an online auction that benefits Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Over 200 children's book illustrators have created art on individual snowflake-shaped wooden templates. The snowflakes will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to cancer research. You can view all of the 2007 snowflakes here. Jules and Eisha from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast have found a way for bloggers to help with this effort, by blogging about individual illustrators and their snowflakes. The idea is to drive traffic to the Robert's Snow site so that many snowflakes will be sold, and much money raised to fight cancer. The illustrator profiles have been wonderful so far - diverse and creative and colorful. And there are lots more to go.

Here's the schedule for Week 4, which starts Monday. As previously, this early schedule links to the participating blogs, instead of to the individual posts. You can find links to the posts themselves, and any last-minute updates, each morning at 7-Imp. Jules and Eisha have also set up a special page at 7-Imp containing a comprehensive list of links to the profiles posted so far. Also not to be missed is Kris Bordessa's post summarizing snowflake-related contests to date over at Paradise Found.

Monday, November 5

Tuesday, November 6

Wednesday, November 7

Thursday, November 8

Genevieve Cote
at a wrung sponge

Friday, November 9

Saturday, November 10

Sunday, November 11



Please take time out to visit all of these blogs, and read about these fabulous illustrators. And, if you're so inclined, think about bidding for a snowflake in the Robert's Snow auction. Each snowflake makes a unique gift (for yourself or for someone else), and supports an important cause.

See also the following note from Elaine Magliaro of Wild Rose Reader:

Note to Blog Readers about Blogging for a Cure: When Jules of 7-Imp put out her call in September for bloggers to interview/feature artists who had created snowflakes for Robert’s Snow 2007 at their blogs, a number of artists had not yet sent in their snowflakes to Dana-Farber. As time was of the essence to get Blogging for a Cure underway, we worked with the list of artists whose snowflakes were already in possession of Dana-Farber. Therefore, not all the participating artists will be featured. This in no way diminishes our appreciation for their contributions to this worthy cause. We hope everyone will understand that once the list of artists was emailed to bloggers and it was determined which bloggers would feature which artists at their blogs, a schedule was organized and sent out so we could get to work on Blogging for a Cure ASAP. Our aim is to raise people’s awareness about Robert’s Snow and to promote the three auctions. We hope our efforts will help to make Robert’s Snow 2007 a resounding success. "

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39. Robert's Snow: Spotlight on Melanie Watt


Melanie Watt is one of the 200 wonderful picture book illustrators who has taken the time to create a unique snowflake for the Robert's Snow project. Robert's Snow is a group of auctions to raise money for cancer research. Please check out all the gorgeous snowflakes by visiting the Robert's Snow site. Not all snowflakes are being spotlighted on blogs.

Melanie Watt's snowflake will be available in the third (and final) auction, which runs from Dec 3-7. Here is a sneak peek. 

Who recognizes that cute little guy? Melanie Watt describes her snowflake like this:

"My snowflake is based on one of my book characters Scaredy Squirrel. This neurotic little worrywart is pretty much afraid of everything. Along with the snowflake there is a WARNING: Beware of frostbite.

P.S. I love the Mo Willems books !"

Here are some of the fabulous books she has worked on.



An all time favorite of mine. A riot, really. Winner of the Cybils 2006 in the fiction picture book category!







This sequel will not disappoint.






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40. I can't wait for SNOW!



No- wait...not that kind of snow (even though I am a skier and start to get excited when the temperature drops below 50). 

I'm excited about ROBERT'S SNOW: FOR CANCER'S CURE -- a huge, bright, and beautiful fund raiser for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  You're probably familiar with children's book author-illustrator Grace Lin, who began this incredible campaign with her husband Robert Mercer after he was diagnosed with cancer several years ago.  Robert died at the end of August, so this year's fund raiser is a bittersweet tribute to his life and his work.  Children's book illustrators -- more than 160 so far this year --  have created breath-taking, original snowflake ornaments to be auctioned off to raise money for cancer research.  This year, kid-lit bloggers are helping to spread the word about the auction by featuring interviews and profiles of these illustrators on their blogs, as well as their snowflakes and a link to the auction.  I'll be featuring Judy Schachner, Amy Young, Sara Kahn, Cecily Lang, and Shawna Tenney on Kate's Book Blog some time in October or November. I hope you'll stop by to meet these generous artists, enjoy their creations, and bid if you can.

I love projects that bring people together like this.  I love it when kindness counteracts all the cynicism out there in the world.  And I love it when kids have a chance to be a part of it.  My 7th grade students are going to be exploring the work of my five illustrators, helping out with the interviews and profiles, and creating their own snowflake ornaments to sell in our community so that we can make an extra donation to the Dana-Farber Institute.  I cannot WAIT to tell them about this project. 

I know there are others on my LJ friends list --  like [info]kellyrfineman, [info]jo_no_anne, [info]lizjonesbooks, [info]jamarattigan, [info]lisa_schroeder, [info]lgburns, and [info]cynthialord -- who will be featuring illustrators, too, so be sure to visit them over the next few months to meet some incredible artists.  If you want to learn more about Robert's Snow, you can drop in on Jules at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, whose organization on this project amazes me, and whose belief that written words can help change the world is an inspiration.

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41. Robert's Snow: Blogging for a Cure begins today



Robert's Snow: Blogging for a Cure begins today. It is a muti-blog event put together by Seven Impossible Things to help raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to fight cancer. Robert's Snow: For Cancer's Cure is a fundraising event that began in 2004. About 200 illustrators have decorated snowflakes this year. The snowflakes will go up for auction next month. Grace Lin started Robert's Snow while her husband, Robert battled cancer. This year's auction holds special meaning because Robert lost his battle with cancer a few months ago.
Since 2004, Robert's Snow has raised over 200,000. This year, The Seven Imps organized this blog event to help drive web traffic to the Robert's Snow: For Cancer's Cure site.
And we all hope that Blogging for a Cure will help make this year's Robert's Snow: For Cancer's Cure bigger than ever.

So, here's the schedule for the first week, highlighting illustrators and the snowflakes they contributed to this year's auction.

Monday, October 15





Tuesday, October 16





Wednesday, October 17





Thursday, October 18





Friday, October 19





Saturday, October 20





Sunday, October 21





Please take time out to visit all of these blogs, and read about these fabulous illustrators. And, if you're so inclined, think about bidding for a snowflake in the Robert's Snow auction. Each snowflake makes a unique gift (for yourself or for someone else), and supports an important cause.

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42. Robert's Snow: Rick Chrustowski

Rick Chrustowski   




I'm excited to be taking part in Blogging for the Cure, where we're featuring just some (but you can discover the rest of them when you visit the auction) of the wonderful illustrators and snowflakes of Robert's Snow, an auction of illustrated snowflakes to raise funds for cancer research. Today I’m featuring Rick Chrustowski, a Wisconsin illustrator/author. Here’s his piece, Snowflakes Are Yummy!:

And during Phase 2 of the auction, November 26-30, you can bid on Rick’s snowflake here

Here’s a close-up of Rick’s snowflake—check out the back of the snowman’s throat! Too funny.

 


Flake-y Questions 

How did you (honestly) feel when you were approached to participate in Robert’s Snow?

I saw it posted on a blog.  I try to do an art project for charity every year.  This one seemed like lots of fun and it’s for a great cause.

Which of your books is your snowflake most “like”?  

None, yet.  I will be using this technique for the first time in a book this year – yay!

How did you come up with the idea for your snowflake? 

I wondered what a snowman would eat.  Snowflakes are like potato chips – each one is different and you can’t stop eating them. 

What did you think about while you were working on it? 

I wanted it to be cute, tell a little story, and to be a celebration of winter.

What medium is your snowflake? 

Cut paper with colored pencil and watercolor snowflakes.

Can you share a little about your artistic process on your snowflake? 

Every year at Christmastime I’m usually on deadline with colored pencil art for a book.  I usually take a break to make my card and using cut paper is fun, quick and colorful.  I cut out my character first then figure out what color background would look good.  It’s like playing with paper dolls.  I never played with them as a kid, but I do now!

Anything you’d like to say directly to the people who might be inspired to bid on your snowflake? 

Have fun with your snowman! 

And here’s my silly poem in honor of Rick’s terrific snow-eating snowman!

 More about Rick:

You might recognize his bold artwork from his books like Bright Beetle and Blue Sky Bluebird




In Rick's Words

About me:

Growing up in Valparaiso, Indiana, our house was the rowdiest one in the whole neighborhood. We have six kids in my family, and I’m number five. Even though we were different ages we still played together, got into fights, and helped each other out of jams. Name any type of kid and we probably had it covered:  cheerleader, jock, computer geek, social butterfly, trombone player in a marching band.  We each had our own area of interest. I emerged as the artist probably because I drew constantly. And I still do! (Read more of Rick’s bio at his website.)

6 highlights in my illustration journey (we're doing a theme of 6 to complement the 6 spokes of a snowflake):

1) when my parents bought me a drawing table in 4th grade,
2) taking my portfolio to New York,
3) first time I drew in front of a large group,
4) seeing
my very first book 
in a bookstore,
5) the first drawing a child made for me,
6) making art for the
Summer Reading Program  

6 words that describe my art and/or artistic process?



6 things you don’t know about me and can’t learn from my site:

1) I’m a vegetarian
2) my favorite color: green
3) my favorite animal: praying mantis
4) my favorite book: whatever I’m working on right now
5) I love planting things in pots (the bigger the better) [unlike Laura—see her
sad plant here]
6) I wish I knew how to play an instrument

Enjoy learning about Rick Chrustowski and his snowflake and artwork! If you have any questions or comments for Rick, you can email him at farmhouseartist at yahoo.com.

I hope you'll check out the other snowflakes being featured today, too. You can see the lineup here or in my sidebar.

Thanks, Rick, for participating, both in this blog interview and in Robert’s Snow!

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43. Robert's Snow: Interview with Karen Katz!

I had the awesome opportunity to interview Karen Katz, bestselling author/illustrator, for Robert's Snow. Karen is one of the generous picture book illustrators who created a snowflake for the Robert's Snow auctions to raise money for cancer research.

Before we get to the interview, I get to show you the adorable snowflake Karen Katz has donated for the Robert's Snow auction. Her snowflake will be available at the end of November. Hopefully by then many of us will be feeling the Christmas spirit and bid on some of the gorgeous snowflakes. It is, afterall, for a great cause.

Here is the great unveiling...



1. With 30 books published, most of them being for the youngest of readers, we could easily call you the Queen of Board Books. How did you get involved in this career?

After my husband and I adopted our daughter from Guatemala I decided I was inspired to illustrate children’s books. I had been a graphic designer for many years. For nine months I painted pictures of kids and anything that looked like it could be in a children’s book. Then I put together a portfolio to show. My second appointment was at Henry Holt with someone I had known in adult publishing. She asked if she could pass my portfolio on to one of the editors. There were paintings in my portfolio that represented a poem that my husband had written about adopting our daughter. Two weeks later I got a call from Laura Godwin a senior editor who wanted to meet with me and talk. We met and talked for an hour about adoption and what my experience was like, what Guatemala was like etc. She told me she loved my art.
Finally I said "I love talking to you, but I’m not quite sure why we are having this conversation.
"Oh," she said, "I’d like to publish a picture book with you about adoption".
I was so elated I could barely act normal.
“Great! And who is going to write it?”
“You are,” she said.
“But I’m not a writer“.
“Yes you are. I can tell. Just write your story from your heart in your own words”.
I went home and wrote the text for that book the next morning. She loved it.
That was the beginning of my career.
I was very lucky to meet someone who had great vision and was willing to trust in my potential.


2. If any author has branded herself, you have. Your books are easily distinguishable. Do you believe this has been helpful in marketing your books?

I do think that my books have become very recognizable with my big baby heads and bright colors and patterns. I didn't intend to "brand" myself in the beginning..I only wanted to create books that I loved making and that kids would like reading or looking at.Now that i have so many books under my belt my look has become a brand. And yes i do think it helps because people can spot my work immediately.


3. You have been writing and illustrating for many years. What advice do you have for those of us, uh-hem, who are desperately trying to break into the world of writing for children?

I wish I knew a magic answer. My best words of advice are to do what you believe in,something that excites you and feels true to your vision. Get the seat of your pants into that chair and stay there until you have finished a project .Send it out...and keep sending it out. Everyone has something to say.Dont give up and ....a little luck doesn't hurt either.


4. What are some of you personal favorite picture books/board books?
That is always a difficult question because I love so many. I have a list on Amazon you can see but here's some more Illustrators and writers I love:

Lucy Cousins
Helen Oxenbury
Sam Williams
Rosemary Wells
margaret Wise brown
all the Little Bear books
Sean Tucker
of course all the classics, Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are etc. (just look at Amazon top ten books to find these)

There's way too many to mention.


5. Was there a particular book that was difficult for you to make work? How did you overcome the difficulties?

All my lift the flap books are tricky especially my new ones that have foil stamping.


6. Do you have any personal experiences with cancer?

Two of my friends have had breast cancer. Both had wonderful treatment and are cancer free for 8 years.
My mother also. She's doing great, too.

Don't forget to check out the Robert's Snow site!

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44. Robert's Snow: Week Two



Here's the schedule for Week 2, which starts Monday. Because the posts aren't up yet, this list links to the participating blogs, instead of to the individual posts. You can find links to the posts themselves, and any last-minute updates, each morning at 7-Imp. Jules and Eisha have also set up a special page at 7-Imp containing a comprehensive list of links to the profiles posted so far. Also not to be missed is Kris Bordessa's post summarizing snowflake-related contests to date over at Paradise Found.



Monday, October 22





Tuesday, October 23





Wednesday, October 24





Thursday, October 25





Friday, October 26





Saturday, October 27





Sunday, October 28





Please take time out to visit all of these blogs, and read about these fabulous illustrators. And, if you're so inclined, think about bidding for a snowflake in the Robert's Snow auction. Each snowflake makes a unique gift (for yourself or for someone else), and supports an important cause.

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45. Blogging for a Cure: Robert's Snow and Erik Brooks

RS_eb2004


RS_eb2005


RS_eb2007


In honor of Blogging for a Cure for Robert's Snow, I contacted participating illustrator Erik Brooks and received the loveliest response:

I found out about Robert's Snow by accident in 2004 and immediately sent Grace and email asking if I could participate. I've never met her, but the idea of helping an important cause by making art was just too perfect to pass up. It was also such an inspiration to see someone ACT on behalf of a loved one in such a profound, innovative, and communal way... The same holds true for this third installment, and I would be happy to paint snowflake every year for the rest of my life.

Lucy's Pups, my snowflake for 2007, is based on a black & white illustration that I did for DOG DIARIES (Henry Holt, 2007). The chapter itself, Lucy's Blended Family, is about a mother dog who is recruited to nurse a pair of stranded kittens. She subsequently adopts them into her own family and the spirit of this story seemed only too right for Robert's Snow. The dog on the back is a quick doodle of my own loveable Humane Society mutt, Max.

I usually work in colored pencil and watercolor, but the snowflakes have also been a great place to experiment. I've used acrylic paint for each installment, and I'll be painting my second book in that newfound medium starting this week!

Additional thoughts: I live in a small mountain town, Winthrop, in north central Washington state where the real snow flies early and piles up often. I have been happily making books for the last 7 years - full time for the last 3. I started off in pursuit of chilldren’s book illustration work, but my early polar bear portfolio paintings led me to a story that became my first, THE PRACTICALLY PERFECT PAJAMAS (Winslow Press, 2000). Coming full circle of sorts, my next book release (November 10th) will be for POLAR POLKA by Chérie Stihler (Sasquatch Books, February 2008). Thusly, while I've loved to see my own writing come to life, I am finally illustrating a polar bear book for another author as well. Giddy up, bear folks. Bring 'em on! - Erik


All images © Erik Brooks, used with expressed permission from the illustrator. Click the thumbnails for full-sized artwork.

Visit Erik at his website and blog.

DD_ebLucy

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