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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Illustrator Interview, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 20 of 20
1. Illustrator Interview – Lita Judge

This interview arose from one of those serendipitous moments. I had been liking all Lita’s posts on FB about her new picture book FLIGHT SCHOOL for several weeks and had been thinking that I must see if she would like … Continue reading

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2. Illustrator Interview – Akiko White

As all my blog followers know, I am a huge fan of the SCBWI and highly recommend children’s authors and illustrators to join and become involved in this society. I apply for and follow keenly their awards, and just as … Continue reading

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3. Illustrator Interview – Elizabeth Rose Stanton

By popular request, they’re back! Every Wednesday, I shall be interviewing illustrators from the world of children’s literature, those you know well and also introducing you to pre-published future Caldecott potentials! Today’s guest is my go to pig-me-up on FB when I need a smile and a bit of whimsy to brighten my day. Welcome to Elizabeth Rose Stanton, whose debut picture book, HENNY, will be published next January by Simon & Schuster.

[JM Illustrator or author/illustrator? 

[ERS] Author/illustrator

[JM] What’s your nationality and which and how have certain cultures/regions influenced your work?   

[ERS] I am “all” American. Multiple lines of my family go back to the early 1600s in North America, and I have a touch of Native American.  It’s probably more accurate to say that my work has been influenced more by children’s literature, in general, than any specific culture or region. That said, I admire the work of many artists and illustrators, including:  Beatrix Potter, Lisbeth Zwerger, John R. Neill, John Tenniel, Edward Gorey, James Thurber. 

I could go on and on . . . 

[JM] Tell us a little of your beginnings as an artist.

[ERS] I studied art history in college, and then went on to get a graduate degree in architecture.   After I got married and had children, I decided to set aside my career as an architect to be a full-time parent.  I began to work as an artist, as time permitted, when my youngest child started kindergarten.  I did portraits, fine art (was represented by a gallery here in Seattle), some graphic design, and became a certified scientific illustrator.  It is only recently, now that the nest is empty, that I have been able to dive full-time into writing and illustrating for children.   

[JM] Do you have a preferred medium to work in? 

[ERS] I work mostly with pencil and watercolor, and sometimes with pen and ink and/or colored pencils. 

[JM] What does your workspace look like?        

Studio_ERStanton[ERS] It Usually looks messy! :-)   I have a cove in the basement lined on one side with bookshelves, and a desk at the end.  I call it “The Trench.”

[JM] Can you share a piece or two with us, maybe of a WIP, and the process of creating them?

[ERS] My process varies a little, depending on where the final image(s) end up. For my books, I work completely on paper.  HENNY was rendered in pencil and watercolor, and the final art was packed up and physically sent to Simon & Schuster in New York.    For posting on-line (such as my Facebook “daily” sketches or for blog posts), I always begin with pencil/paint on paper, scan it, then often do some touch up.  I have a very old graphics program that I use that is quite adequate for what I usually need to do—cleaning up stray lines or enhancing color here and there.  But the short of it is, I prefer to work old-school.  

Monster_Tutu1_ERStanton-1

Begins with a simple pencil sketch

Then I begin to paint, using a variety of watercolor, and sometimes gouache.

Then I begin to paint, using a variety of watercolor, and sometimes gouache.

I go back and forth with color and pencil until I feel the picture is balanced

I go back and forth with color and pencil until I feel the picture is balanced

 

Then, in this case, I scan it in, clean it up a little, and send it on its way.

Then, in this case, I scan it in, clean it up a little, and send it on its way.

[JM] I know you have your debut picture book coming out in January of 2014. Can you tell us a little about the inspiration and development of HENNY? 

[ERS] Most of my ideas pop out spontaneously by way of the characters. A couple of years ago, I drew a fanciful bird with arms. He morphed into a chicken.  Then I started to think about all the challenges, and fun, a little chicken with arms might have, and Henny’s story unfolded from there.

Armed Chicks

Armed Chicks

HennyCover_ERStanton

Jacket cover for HENNY (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books)

 [JM] What’s with all the pigs? :-)  

[ERS] The book I’m working on now is about a pig.

EPSON scanner image

[JM] How do you approach the marketing/business side of the picture book world?

[ERS] Having a fabulous agent, Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary & Media, helps.  I couldn’t have asked for a better person to represent me. She is helpful, responsive, and she really knows the business. I also have the benefit of the expertise of the talented team at Paula Wiseman Books. Meanwhile, I’ve been working to build up my social network platform. I try and keep my blog current, as well as post sketches and little paintings on Facebook as frequently as I can.  I use Twitter occasionally, too.  Specifically for HENNY, I will be having the book launch here in Seattle the first week of January, and will then be working hard to make the rounds, so to speak, singing her praises! :-)

EPSON scanner image[JM] What has been your greatest professional challenge?

[ERS] Staying focused. I always want to do other things (I have a pretty long bucket list).

Five Fun Ones to Finish?

[JM] What word best sums you up? 

[ERS] Quirky.

EPSON scanner image

[JM] If you could live anywhere for a season, where would you go? 

[ERS] Paris–because I’ve never been.

[JM] What’s your go-to snack or drink to keep the creative juices flowing?

[ERS] Strong tea and the darkest of dark chocolate.

[JM] Cats or dogs? 

[ERS] Both!  I have an ancient one-eyed dog and two Scottish Fold cats.

[JM] If you could spend a day with one children’s book illustrator, with whom would that be? 

[ERS] Current: Lisbeth Zwerger    Past: Beatrix Potter

[JM] Where can we find/follow you and your work, Elizabeth?

http://www.penspaperstudio.com/

http://penspaperstudio.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.r.stanton

@penspaperstudio

[ERS]  Thank you for the interview, Joanna!  It’s been fun!

[JM] Thank YOU for being on Miss Marple’s Musings, Beth. To your continued success. I am looking forward to seeing HENNY when she comes out!

EPSON scanner image 

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4. Illustrator Interview – Joyce Wan

I-joycewan-headshotI don’t think I shall ever hear the word CUPCAKE now without thinking of Joyce Wan (check out her website if this means nothing to you). Somehow, a frosted pink, mouthful of scrummy yum, that makes you wanna yell Mmm, Fun and More! I have been following Joyce for a while on FB because Marcie Colleen, a mutual friend, lambasted me one day in our local Brooklyn bar with, ‘What, you’ve been in New York 4 months and don’t know Joyce Wan?!!” Well, I finally got to meet Joyce at the SCBWI LA conference this summer (where I have actually met the majority of my kidlit friends), and she was one of the reasons for my SCBWI rave post, here!

[JM] Illustrator or author/illustrator?

[JW] Author/illustrator

[JM] What’s your nationality and which and how have certain cultures/regions influenced your work?

[JW] I am Chinese-American, born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, but have been living in New York City for about 17 years now.

[JM] Tell us a little of your beginnings and journey as an artist.

[JW] Art always interested me, even as a child, and has always been a pursuit and a passion of mine. I designed a greeting card when I was 6 years old for a city-wide greeting card design contest. The design won first place and was subsequently sold through a major department store chain. Because of the contest, I even got to meet the governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, and had my picture in the Boston Globe.

A-dukakis

As you can imagine, this experience left a major impression on me as a young child and it encouraged me to keep drawing. I grew up on welfare and food stamps in low-income housing in inner-city Boston for a greater part of my youth. Coming from an immigrant family with limited means, art was not necessarily encouraged – not as a means to make a living anyway. I went on to study architecture at Barnard College thinking it was the “practical” thing to do for someone who was interested in the arts. However, after working in the field of architecture for a couple years I realized it was not very fulfilling – in fact, I hated it. With no formal art education other than a college figure drawing class and a huge leap of faith, I started Wanart in 2003 with an initial focus on designing and manufacturing my own greeting card line. When I first started Wanart, I was working at a 9am-6pm job at an architectural firm. I would spend the night/early morning hours on my own business with only a few hours of sleep in between the two “jobs”.  I did this for two years before I quit my full time job to pursue my own business full-time. I spent the early years taking lots of continuing education classes, taking odd jobs here and there when I needed money, reading lots of marketing books, trying many different things, making many mistakes, teaching myself design programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, spending lots of money (or, I like to call it, investing in myself), and drawing—lots of drawing, relying on nothing but hope and passion to keep me going most of the time. I continually put myself out there and exhibited my products at trade shows all over the country such as the National Stationery Show and the New York International Gift Show. Between the trial and error (and tears!) were some small successes, by this time I also started to license some of my designs, and then a major break came when I met the art director from my first publisher in 2008 at a gift show. The art director told me they had seen my cards in stores, had been following my work, and even had some of my cards in their office. This led to the publication of my first book Greetings from Kiwi and Pear which was based on one of my best-selling greeting card lines. I’ve had 5 books published now with 6 more under contract in the next few years. I’m working with Cartwheel/Scholastic, PSS!/Penguin, Beach Lane Books/S&S, & FSG/Macmillan. My designs are also found on stationery and gift products sold all over the world. It is a dream come true.

[JM] Do you have a preferred medium to work in?

[JW] People know me for my digital work but I have been working more with pencil (my first love) lately and have a book coming out next year that I’m excited about called Sleepyheads with Beach Lane Books, which is drawn entirely in pencil and then colored digitally.

[JM] What does your workspace look like? (Photo if you like??)

[JW] I have a studio space right outside of New York City in Union City, New Jersey in an old industrial building that was a silk mill in the early 1900’s.  These photos show my studio at its neatest, but it does get quite messy especially when I’m on deadline!

B-wanart_studio1

C-wanart_studio2

When I’m working late (which I tend to like to do these days because I find I do my best creative work between the hours of 12am and 3am) I will work at home right on my dining table.

[JM] Can you share a piece or two with us, maybe of a WIP, and the process of creating them?

[JW] I’ve included some images from a book coming out Fall 2014 from Beach Lane Books that I illustrated and was written by Sandra Howatt called Sleepyheads.

I always like to draw thumbnails first. This helps me plan the general layout of each page and text placement without having to worry too much about the details at this point.  I also jot down any other ideas or questions I may have for each page.

 D-sleepyheads-thumbnails-1

Since this book did not contain any recurring characters, I went straight to the drawings. If there were characters, I would do character studies which involves drawing the character with different expressions and poses before advancing to the drawings.  I wanted this book to have a soft, cuddly classic feeling so I drew this book entirely with a good old-fashioned pencil on fine art cotton fiber paper. Because of all the rendering I must have gone through over 25 pencils for this book and even a few sharpeners. It felt really nice to get back to basics and almost meditative in some ways.

 E-sleepyheads-b&wdrawing1

After all the drawings were done, I scanned each one, inserted the text in Photoshop, compiled the files into a PDF, and emailed them to my editor for comments. My editor, Andrea Welch, and I had a phone meeting and we went through each page together and she shared her comments and requests for changes on layout, composition, character expressions, etc. I went back to the drawing board, had to redraw some of the pages and additional drawings had to be created, such as the title page and the cover. Afterward, I sent a new PDF with all the pages. Once the last round of drawings were approved, I went to color.

The book was colored in Photoshop mostly using the “multiply” blending mode so that I didn’t lose any of the pencil texture. Anyone who’s familiar with my work know that I use a lot of bright, cheerful flat colors so coloring night scenes, which I had not done much of before, was a fun, new challenge. I wanted to create a dreamy, peaceful, soothing atmosphere – a lullaby in visual form.

 F-sleepyheads-color1

The colored drawings were then emailed to my editor in a PDF for comments again.  After some more back-and-forth, the book was complete! The final drawings files were then uploaded to their server without the copy. The art department usually places the text.

I recently received the proofs for the book to review. Besides some minor adjustments I need to make, I am happy with how they look and I’m excited to share this book with the world!

 G-sleepyheads-proofs-1

[JM] Are the two art forms of card design and illustrating and writing books for children related and, if so, how? 

[JW] Yes, at least in the types of books that I have been working on which are books for the very young – those that are not even quite reading yet. I spent many years working on greeting card designs (my collection now contains around 200 designs). Greeting cards are about communicating emotions and universal sentiments like love and joy which in a lot of ways are what picture books are about too. Going from greeting cards to picture books seemed like a natural progression. Eric Carle once said that when he’s working on a book every spread has to be able to stand on its own like a poster. I feel like it’s the same way with greeting cards and is something that I carry over into my books.

[JM] How do you approach the marketing/business side of the picture book world? 

[JW] I’m a bit pro-active when it comes to marketing. having my gift business all these years really prepared me for the marketing/business side of the book world. I was already used to ‘selling’ and promoting my rat before picture books were even in the pciture. I look at creating picture books as an extension of my design business and the picture books as another line of my products. I think creative people often feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by marketing and business. THINK BIG, ACT SMALL, but ACT nonetheless- ONE STEP AT A TIME towards your goals. This helps to keep dreamers and idealists rooted, and leads one towards successful fruition of ideas and dreams.

[JM] What authors and/or illustrators influenced you growing up?

[JW] There are so many but here are several of my favorites: Richard Scarry, Eric Carle, Tomie dePaola, Lois Ehlert, Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, and James Marshall.

[JM] What advice would you give new illustrators trying to break into this challenging business?

[JW] Have the courage to keep putting yourself out there, surround yourself with people who believe in you (stay away from toxic ones!), be honest with yourself, focus on what you do best, play up and promote what you do best, create from your heart and soul (not what the next person is doing), never stop learning, and keep drawing/painting/writing! Also, I keep hearing this more and more from people in the industry and at conferences and it’s something I also wholeheartedly believe—you have to work really, really hard, probably the hardest you’ve ever had to work. Go the extra mile in everything you do and everything you put out there.

 Five Fun Ones to Finish?

[JM] What word best sums you up?

[JW] Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

[JM] If you could live anywhere for a season, where would you go?

[JW] Hawaii during the frigid months here in NYC would be dreamy. It’s such a magical, mystical, and joyous place: warm ocean, perfect sunlight, gentle sea breezes, lush green vegetation, sacred nature sites, the freshest fruits of the sea you’ll ever eat, awe-inspiring landscapes, full rainbows, fragrant flowers, friendly people, and SPAM, eggs, and rice (need I say more?).

H-hawaii-rainbow

This is a full rainbow I saw while on a last-minute Hawaiian getaway a year and a half ago. I had to stitch a bunch of photos together using a photo app because the rainbow was so immense I couldn’t fit the whole thing in one photo. As I gazed in awe at the rainbow that I spotted in the middle of a field while driving around the Hawaiian countryside (after making my friend pull over on the side of the road so that I could take pictures!), I was reminded how important it is to take a break from work and do something spontaneous and out-of-the-ordinary sometimes to reconnect with our childlike sense of wonder, discovery, and delight. [JM] Thanks for the reminder and visual!

[JM] What’s your go-to snack or drink to keep the creative juices flowing?

[JW] Skittles, specifically the one in the purple packaging which are the Wild Berry flavors, or, the Fruit Salad Haribo Gummi candies and a nice strong cup of coffee.

[JM] Cats or dogs?

[JW] Either – they just have to be chubby! [JM] Garfield meets Deputy Dawg?

[JM] If you could spend a day with one children’s book illustrator, with whom would that be?

[JW] That would be Eric Carle, but if they don’t have to be living I would also love to have been able to spend the day with Richard

[JM] Where can we find/follow you and your work, Joyce?

Visit me online at www.wanart.com.

Connect with me on: Twitter: @wanartFacebook:  https://www.facebook.com/wanartstudio                                                                 Instagram: @wanartstudio

Joyce, I love how you have known only shared yourself and your work, but I also really feel like you have graciously taught us much in this interview and shared your expertise with us. I think Marcie and I need to take a trip to visit you in your super studio space! To your success, especially with the adorable SLEEPYHEADS.

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5. Tory Novikova, An Illustrator on the Rise (plus a giveaway!)

ToryTwo years ago at NJ-SCBWI, someone mistook Tory Novikova for my daughter.

Eek! Am I that OLD? No, really, Tory is quite young, so let’s just say that if I were a teenage bride, it could be a possibility. I mean, look at those eyes and hair! Totally plausible.

While Tory’s definitely not my daughter, she does work with her mom, and that’s pretty cool.

toryleggings

Torynova’s adorbable Mushroom Fairy Print leggings.

Her mom played a heavy role in inspiring the styles for Tory’s own fashion company, Torynova Couture.

“The woman had me drawing as soon as possible, so kudos to that child-rearing dedication. She’s a fashion designer, graduated from Moscow’s Textile Institute and had worked for the top fashion houses there and also made costumes for theater and ballet. Even my great grandparents worked on costume and stage production for the Bolshoi Theater, so one could say appreciation for the classics runs through my blood.”

With Tory’s talent and drive—she also illustrates for video game, comic and apparel companies—I knew picture books couldn’t be far behind for this Pratt Institute 2010 BFA. Flash forward to NOW and her book TUKE THE SPECIALIST TURTLE is swimming your way!

Tuke-ToryNova

Tory, how did you land the job illustrating TUKE?

I was approached really out of the blue (for me, anyway) by Jim Ritterhoff about illustrating this children’s book he had written and meant to publish through his company, Chowder Inc. Profits were to benefit CCMI, the Central Caribbean Marine Institute and the Central Reef Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to sustaining coral reefs in the Caribbean. He seemed really dedicated to the marine ecology of the reefs, being a diver himself. So I came on board and drew him Tuke.

Your illustrations for TUKE are so vibrant and fun. They really bring the ocean and Tuke’s personality to life. Could you give us a little background on your process for creating the art?

I think there is a natural juiciness to my color palette and aesthetic, no matter how far I try to run away from it. It must be a side effect from having my eyes stuck to the TV, growing up watching too many cartoons for it to be healthy. Thankfully, it came in very handy with Tuke because the story takes place in the Caribbean Reef. Though I’ve never seen it in person, I’ve researched enough about it to know that it’s riddled with colors beyond imagination. In fact, the very first spread I finished in full color was the entire reef, which comes in right after the introduction. The reaction I got from Jim, who is an avid diver and knows the reef so well, was pretty much like—YES! This totally works! So after that point, there were no doubts about color constraints. Though, I did get to play around with different depths of blues, which was lovely.

1a-tuke-torynova

2a-tuke-torynova

As far as my process goes. The entire book, 60+ pages, was laid out in clean pencil sketches like a storyboard. And for me, clean is a relative term…since my lines are pretty gestural and loose (I really dislike the look of pencil lines that have been traced over lovely loose sketches). Anyway! After each page or spread was drawn, I went over it with an ink brush, picking up and adding textures that I could snap up and use later for the finish. Eventually these were all scanned and saved for later. Then came the flat vector shapes. I really enjoy drawing freehand in Illustrator – is that strange? There is a satisfying gravity about a solid mass that contorts to form the daintiest of details. The expressions of the animals were probably my most favorite parts to draw!

1b-tuke-torynova

2b-tuke-torynova

And finally, the image is completed in Photoshop, all the bits are assembled, and the color is fully applied. It may be a little tedious of a process, but it lent itself a lot to the look of the book, and Tuke! And of course there were many moments of going back into inks, rescanning, and altering the finished pages by administering bits of texture for the final polish.

1c-tuke-torynova

2c-tuke-torynova

So, what’s next for you, Tory?

Hmmm…what IS next?!?! Well for starters, I’m about as knee-deep into education and new media as I’ll ever be. In fact, I’m currently involved in the creation of an entire educational game world revolving around children’s books and characters due for release in 2014. So I’m definitely still deep in pursuit of creating for kids—video games, books, products, cartoons—you name it! But it’s always been a dream to illustrate picture books. So I’m very much looking forward to the next opportunity that comes my way! :) Any takers?!

Well, I’ll bet there will be plenty of takers for our special TUKE giveaway! 

One lucky blog reader will win a custom sketch of Tuke made especially for them! You can even enter twice!

Comment or leave a question for Tory here on the blog for one entry, then Tweet or Instagram an image of the book with hashtag #TuketheSpecialistTurtle and tag @torynova for another entry. Contest ends September 21st and a winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

For more about Tory and her various projects, visit ToryNova.com.


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6. Illustrator Interview – Matt Phelan

A few weeks back I posted a review in our Perfect Picture Book Friday series of the first book Matt illustrated, THE NEW GIRL…. AND ME. I had so many comments on this post on my Facebook page from people … Continue reading

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7. Interview with Award Winning Author and Illustrator: CATHERINE RAYNER

Catherine Rayner is the award winning author and illustrator of several picture books.

AUGUSTUS AND HIS SMILE; Winner of the 2006 Booktrust Early Years Award for Best New Illustrator.
Selected as one of five picture books to be recommended on Channel 4's 'Richard and Judy Christmas Party'


Shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, the 'Read it Again' Cambridgeshire Picture Book Award, the English 4-11 Award 2007 and the Royal Mail Scottish Children's Book awards (0-7 category) 2007.

Catherine was chosen as one of ten illustrators for the The Big Picture campaign’s Best New Illustrators 2008.

HARRIS FINDS HIS FEET:
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal Winner 2009






2006:   Best New Illustrator, Booktrust Early Years Awards (winner)
2006:   V&A Illustration Awards (shortlisted)
2006:   Richard & Judy Christmas Party selection
2007:   CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal (shortlisted) 
2007:   “Read It Again”, Cambridgeshire Picture Book Award (shortlisted)
2007:   English 4-11 Award (shortlisted)
2007:   Royal Mail Scottish Children’s Book Awards, 0-7 category (shortlisted)
2008:   Selected for the Book Trust Big Picture Campaign
2009:   UKLA Children’s Book Award (shortlisted)
2009:   Chronos Prize (shortlisted)
2009:   CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal (winner)
2009:   shortlisted for the 2009 Booktrust Early Years Award for the Pre School Award (Sylvia and Bird)
2010:   Sylvia and Bird nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal





Hi Catherine and welcome. Would you like to tell us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in Yorkshire and we were definitely a pet loving family, as I grew up surrounded by animals of all kinds. When I was 13, I was given a pony and at 15 I got my horse, Shannon, who I still own and ride. I find it very therapeutic to escape to the stables and go riding - it often helps the creative juices to flow.

My love of animals and drawing meant I began drawing animals from a really young age. Not long ago my mum found some old jotters of mine and they were filled with illustrated stories I’d written about the sausage dog we had when I was little.

I studied A level art then went on to complete a general art foundation course before studying on a three year Visual Communication degree course at Edinburgh College of Art, where I specialised in illustration.

I now live and work in Edinburgh and I love it. It’s always felt like home and it’s a brilliant place for artists.


What inspired you to write your first picture book, AUGUSTUS AND HIS SMILE? And h

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8. Children’s Book Illustrators Creating a RIPPLE in the Gulf

Children’s book illustrator Kelly Light recently launched RIPPLE, a cooperative of illustrators making small sketches in exchange for a donation to a non-profit effort in the gulf.

“A small sketch, a small donation, each small act helps. Together we can cause a ripple in the oil-soaked waters of the gulf.”

Most sketches are just $50 each. You must be the first to email RIPPLE to claim a particular sketch, wait for confirmation that you are the first, then make a donation to a gulf non-profit and provide receipt proof within the hour. The schedule of illustrators is posted so you can be ready to pounce!

Illustrators to come include Dan Santat, Jarrett Krosoczka, Pascal Campion, and later today–Mo Willems.

So head on over to RIPPLE and buy an original piece of art!


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9. JULIA GROVES: One of the Six Illustrators Chosen for SCBWI-BI's Undiscovered Voices Anthology 2012


* Congratulations, Julia, on achieving a coveted place in Undiscovered Voices 2012! and welcome to tall tales & short stories.
The floor is yours, please tell us all about yourself, your journey as an artist/illustrator and anything else you'd like to add.

I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators especially to enter the UV2012 Competition on the recommendation of a friend, so I couldn’t believe it when I found out I'd been selected as one of the six lucky illustrator winners!

My background is in Illustration and Printmaking; I studied at Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University and Brighton University.

I have worked as a college lecturer in art and design for several years and I have a real passion for all aspects of illustration, especially children’s books.



In my work I have enjoyed experimenting with a variety of mediums including painting and textiles, underpinned by a strong sense of drawing and composition. I have recently been combining traditional printmaking techniques with digital media.



I take inspiration from the natural world, but I also love drawing everyday objects, toys and the domestic paraphernalia that comes with family life.


My children are an endless source of inspiration and often come up with ideas for stories and characters!




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10. AMBER HSU: One of the Six Illustrators Chosen for SCBWI-BI's Undiscovered Voices Anthology 2012



* Congratulations, Amber, on achieving a coveted place in Undiscovered Voices 2012! and welcome to tall tales & short stories.
The floor is yours, please tell us all about yourself, your journey as an artist/illustrator and anything else you'd like to add.

I’ve been drawing since I can first remember. As a child I’d always wanted to be either an artist or a veterinarian. Drawing animals and making up stories were a private retreat and way to deal with the solitude of being an only child in an immigrant household – I was born in Taiwan, grew up in the US and am now based in London. That mixed background influences me to this day and as I grew up my interests were equally peripatetic.

I have a degree in Biophysics, Fashion design and now an MA in Comparative Literature. I have worked in such places as a flea market, a dentist’s office, a pharmaceutical lab, a newspaper, a bank (gasp!), a fashion studio, and a social network. Once, I worked in a morgue.

But stories and art have always been true to my heart. I’ve exhibited photography, sculpture, sketches, made costumes, and most recently, just completed an attachment at the National Theatre Studios to adapt a play by the Nobel prize-winning playwright Gao Xingjian. I’m still hoping all of this will make sense one day. Until then I’ve decided I’ll just start making things up and drawing them out as I go along.


*  Could you tell our readers all about the story behind your chosen entry, and most importantly why they are going to love your work!

And so Chairogo Brought Forth the Stolen Voice...

I am always imagining little characters floating around in different worlds. This one is a finder of forgotten things—broken dreams, lost thoughts, hidden voices—all left behind in a callous, cold and unfeeling factory of a world. He’s a bit of a quiet but curious character that senses something amiss in his surroundings but doesn’t quite know what. When he takes up this discarded object—this stolen voice—and tries to keep it, he goes on an adventure, eventually discovering an authenticity and meaning otherwise missing from his existence.

I think I relate to that kind of character. I pity lone objects. I will project whole interior lives onto something as plain and simple as a lost shoe or fallen french-fry (a habit I suspect is not uncommon with most illustrators and writers). I sometimes take home discarded, broken things. You’d think this only leads to enormous amounts of clutter, which

5 Comments on AMBER HSU: One of the Six Illustrators Chosen for SCBWI-BI's Undiscovered Voices Anthology 2012, last added: 2/20/2012
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11. PUGS IN A BUG! A Jaunty Joy-Ride with Carolyn Crimi and Stephanie Buscema (plus a giveaway!)

Ever heard of the picture book THE LOUDS MOVE IN? It’s one of my all-time favorites, with a cast of unique characters like Miss Shushermush, who eats quiet meals of leftover mashed potatoes. When the Loud family moves onto Earmuffle Avenue, the chaos begins and friendships are eventually [noisily] forged.

Ever since I read THE LOUDS I have been a huge fan of author Carolyn Crimi. So when I heard about her newest book PUGS IN A BUG, and then saw the illustrations by Stephanie Buscema, I nearly fell off my chair with an attack of acute cuteness. Punch-buggy green! Gotcha!

PUGS is a “catchy canine counting book” with a jaunty joy-ride rhyme and a groovin’ get-up-and-go beat. It’s so much fun to read aloud with its twists and turns in language—and in the road. Chugging along, the pugs meet up with a pooch parade, so there’s not only pugs in a bug, but bulldogs in a taxi and poodles on skateboards. This book proves that it’s not always about the destination but the journey. Beep, beep! Bow wow! I know you want to win it now!

So Carolyn and Stephanie are both here today to talk about the creation of PUGS…and yes, you can win it!

TL: Carolyn, are pugs your favorite kind of dog? Do you own a pug? Why PUGS?

CC: I actually love all kinds of dogs. I met a Newfoundland yesterday that I was ready to take home with me. Alas, she was a big dog and probably would not have fit in my car. But pugs are probably my favorite. They’re the comedians of the dog world. When I walk down the street with my pug Emerson people laugh. I kind of love that about him—he brings laughter with him wherever he goes.

Not that he cares about that. All he really cares about is food. If he had to choose between me and a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken I’m afraid there would be no contest. KFC would win, paws down.

Not only do I own a pug, I also own a VW Bug. It’s even green, just like the one in the book. I came up with the entire idea for PUGS IN A BUG the very first time I took Emerson for a ride in my car. That was way back in 2001. I still have both the pug and the Bug. I highly recommend both!

I’ve attached a pic of Emerson for your amusement.

TL: Aww, I love Emerson! His tongue is hilarious.

So you had the idea for the book over 10 years ago. How long did it take you to write it?

CC: Boy, I wish I had a timeline for this book, but I don’t have a clear idea of when I wrote the first draft. I don’t think it was submitted until 2003. Of course the whole submission process takes forever and a day. I also probably revised it a bunch of times to no avail. Then I think it took a while to find the right illustrator.

In other words, same ole same ole.

My first drafts don’t usually take long at all. Maybe just a couple of days. It’s the many revisions I do that take years. Yup, years. I’ll put something away for a while if it doesn’t sell right away. I’ll take another look at it years later and will sometimes be able to see the changes that need to be made. Some

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12. The Studio - Girl Scouts of the USA

Do you know about The Studio? Every week the Girl Scouts showcase inspiring storytellers of all kinds, offering an inside look at how they do what they do. It started with authors, has now expanded to include illustrators and soon the girl scouts will be able to upload their own work. The goal is to create a community of creative work shared by the girls and professionals working in a variety of creative careers. I'm honored to be showcased this week, along with illustrations I've done for the Young Patriot Series.

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13. Want To Be Interviewed Here at SFG? Let us know!


Yes, we want you and all your talented illustration goodness! 


The Benefits of being interviewed: 
1. You get to connect with your fan base and develop more relationships.
2. You get to expand your online presence by tapping into new audiences that you previously did not have exposure in.
3. You get to talk about yourself and what you do best in a down-to-earth way.
4. You get more exposure to your work, ideas, website, like pages, twitter pages and blogs to potential clients!
5. Free advertising for you! You get to be put in the spotlight and become worth talking about. Goodness knows we need to expose more talent plus as they say these days, good exposure is everything!
6. It's great for your promotions, newsletters, online content and artists cv. 


    Let us know here over on Facebook! And, pass the sugary goodness on! 

    0 Comments on Want To Be Interviewed Here at SFG? Let us know! as of 1/28/2013 9:56:00 PM
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    14. Author/Illustrator Interview: Laurianne Uy

    I had the pleasure of meeting Laurianne (Laur) Uy at ALA a few weeks ago. She is such a charming young lady and so obviously talented that I invited her for an interview. Not only did she agree, but she also signed a copy of Polterguys Vol. 1 that I’ll be giving away in a drawing on 10 August. To enter, leave a comment below that states you’d like to win the book by midnight, 9 August. I will mail international.

    PROFILE_PIC


    Full Name: Laurianne Uy
    Nicknames: Laur / laurbits / laurchan / psychoe
    Contact: laurie.uy [at] gmail [dot] com – See more at: http://www.laurbits.com/profile#sthash.EAiWnLdY.dpuf

     

    Let’s start with a few short questions.

    Where did you grow up?

    I grew up in the city of Manila, Philippines. In 1992, I was in second grade when my family moved into a unit on the 11th floor of a condominium. This was because the condo would be closer to our school which means we didn’t have to spend hours and hours commuting in traffic. Even then, we still had to be up by 5:30 AM to make it to our 8 AM classes. I guess my siblings and I were slow movers in the morning! But I remember we had a really nice view of the city from our balcony windows.

    So, When did you move to the US?

    I moved to the U.S. in July of 2002, right after I graduated high school in the Philippines.

    Do you have any pets?

    I don’t! Unfortunately, I’m allergic to pet hair which is awful because I adore cats! It’s so bad I’m subscribed to a few cat channels on youtube to get my kitty fix. And although I jump at any chance I can get just to be near cats, I always make sure to load up on Benadryl before I meet them.

    What do you enjoy watching on television?

    I love well-written animated series, cable drama and a few sitcoms here and there. I like shows that have compelling characters that evolve and have stories that can move me. If it’s capable of making me cry in some way, I’m almost positive it will be a favorite.  

    Meat or vegetables?

    Actually, Nathan and I went semi-vegan for a while just to see how much meat we could eliminate from our diet. I was really surprised how much I got into it considering I grew up with very meat-heavy dishes. For the most part, we just cook vegetables and have them with rice at home (I’m Filipino-Chinese and this is a staple!) but eat whatever we like when we eat out.

    Are there any books that stand out in your memory from your childhood?+-+7148378_140

    Nancy Drew was a big deal for me because it’s the first series I ever collected. I guess you can say I’m really fond of young female detectives solving mysteries! I love that Nancy’s dad was supportive of her escapades and that she dragged her friends into cases, too. I only bought and read up to the 20th book and I don’t think any of the bookstores carried the numbers beyond that.

    What book(s) are you in the middle of reading right now?

    Oh man, I always come out of the library with a huge haul so it’s a mix of things. I’m reading a bunch of long manga series like Bakuman, Yakitate Japan and Sailormoon. I also listen to audiobooks at work so I’ve been picking up young adult, fantasy/sci-fi and non-fiction books. I recently completed the Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy and Stephen King’s Under the Dome and really enjoyed both.

    WEB-Necromancer

    Necromancer

    When did you first realize that you’re an artist?

    Maybe it was the fact that I doodled little stick figures all over my piano books instead of practiced with them. I had no idea what sketchbooks were and just found the gutters between columns on newspapers as interesting settings for my stick figure characters. There were a lot of tall cliffs!

    Who was the first character that you created?

    I don’t really remember! I’m sure it was some stick-figure princess in a little cone hat with some cloth on top but the first set of characters I designed when I started making comics was definitely my high school friends. I wanted us to hang out with our favorite anime characters so I started making comics that chronicled our adventures together.

    Tell us about Polterguys! What inspired the book?

    Polterguys is the story of a nerdy college girl who ends up moving into a house that’s haunted by five cute ghost guys. Since she’s FINAL-PolterguysVOL1COVER_JPG_minithe only one who can see them, she has to help them resolve their unfinished business.

    There are a ton of influences in this book and the first is of course, reverse harem manga like Ouran High School Host Club and Fruits Basket. Girl-centric TV shows that had great female leads like Buffy and Veronica Mars showcase the kind of writing I aspire to. Finally, I also grew up on a lot of fun 90s ghost movies like Heart and Souls and The Frighteners. They’re both great character-driven supernatural stories and anytime they’re on TV, I’m just compelled to watch them because the stories just suck you in.

    What happens to Bree in the first volume?

    Bree moves out of her dorm room because she has issues with her roommate and finds a nice place to rent off-campus. It turns out to be populated by ghosts who really just want to be friends with her because she can see them. She ends up becoming responsible for them because they get in trouble with a Reaper, a being who essentially takes ghosts away to move on to great beyond.

    What are some of the future adventures that you have planned for her?

    I don’t want to get too spoilery but I’d really like her to struggle with relationships with living people this time!

    You’re such a visual person, I wonder what kind of experience school was for you. Was it a real struggle to get through reading text and writing answers? Was school interesting to you?

    School was good for me. I suspect I was having more fun actually learning than my peers because I didn’t complain as much! I also remember the curriculum as really encouraging creativity and that was definitely something I responded to. We would have art projects for science, english, history and I remember drawing all the time. So, while I never got around to proper art lessons, I got a lot of practice on academic hours.

    The only issues I ever ran into were my Chinese classes because I barely understood the teacher and didn’t speak the language at home or with my friends. To this day, I still get nightmares about pop quizzes in Chinese – it’s definitely left some deep psychological scars in me.

    What’s challenging you most in drawing these days?

    I’d say perspective and backgrounds. I want to be the kind of comic artist that masters fundamentals so I can tell immersive stories and have my characters be in believable settings and environments.

    If you could visit any museum in the world, which would it be and why?

    I’m going to be boring and say the Louvre because I haven’t been to Europe yet despite having majored in Art History. I just know seeing work I’ve studied for semesters in person is going to blow my mind.

    Thank you so much, Laur!


    Filed under: Authors Tagged: author interview, illustrator interview, Laurianne Uy

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    15. The Bookseller’s Gazette Issue #1

    While writing my post on bookselling and magazines a few weeks back, I was thinking how much magazine articles, tv and radio notices, blog posts, etc. drive the used and rare book trade. I decided to start collecting these references in one place so alert booksellers could take advantage of potential spikes in demand.

    This will be an on-going feature and (I hope) it will be tip driven. I’m looking for stories from non-specialist publications (not Fine Books and Collections, for example, because most booksellers already read it) with national/international audiences that contain reference to rare or out-of-print book titles.

    I know book dealers have to carefully guard their sources, but I believe this is the kind of information that will benefit everyone to share.

    Please send your tips here (change “(at)” to @). Match the format below if possible, otherwise just give me enough info to find it. I’ll give credit and/or a link for any tips I use.

    Here’s the first installment. It’s short…and a little dated but will become more robust with your help.

    Bookseller’s Gazette #1

    Magazine Article: “The Book of Exodus” by Geraldine Brooks, New Yorker, 12/3/07

    Long article on a Muslim Librarian’s rescue of the Sarajevo Haggadah from the Nazi occupation. This is a historically crucial illuminated Hebrew text. (various reproductions sell on ABE for $25 and up)

    Radio: NPR - WNYC “Fishko Files” 12/21/07

    Biographical essay on outrageous jazz musician and bandleader, Cab Calloway with a mention of his reference book on African-American Slang The Hepster’s Dictionary (no copies currently on ABE, several wants).

    Documentary Film: Doc, Directed by Immy Humes (Film Forum, NYC January 23-29)

    Harold L. Humes (aka Doc Humes) was brilliant and precocious (he went to MIT at 16), a literary phenomenon (the author of two acclaimed novels, The Underground City, Men Die, who never wrote again) [firsts go for $100-$300], who was instrumental in founding The Paris Review…..George Plimpton, Norman Mailer, Paul Auster, Peter Matthiessen, William Styron and Timothy Leary recall an extraordinary man.

    Documentary Film: Stalags, Written and directed by Ari Libsker (Film Forum, NYC April 9-22)

    “It was one of Israel’s dirty little secrets. In the early 1960s, as Israelis were being exposed for the first time to the shocking testimonies of Holocaust survivors at the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a series of pornographic pocket books called Stalags, based on Nazi themes, became best sellers throughout the land… The books told perverse tales of captured American or British pilots being abused by sadistic female SS officers outfitted with whips and boots….Ari Libsker, a grandson of Holocaust survivors, explores this phenomenon by interviewing the men who wrote the Stalags, as well as Israeli survivors and cultural critics who consider how fantasy may seep into public consciousness and become indiscernible from the historical record.”

    The Bookseller’s Gazette is edited by William Smith of Hang Fire Books. Read his blog and visit his store here.

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    16. Bookseller’s Gazette Issue #2

    Thanks for the tips I’ve received so far, but I still need more eyes.

    Please send your tips/links here (change “(at)” to @). Match the format below if possible. I’ll give credit and/or a link for any tips I use (please include your desired credit info with the tip).

    Radio: NPR - WNYC “Talk of the Nation” 1/18/08

    Interview with Doris Daou on her new Braille astronomy text, Touch the Invisible Sky (co-authored by Noreen Grice and partnered with NASA). Grice authored three previous books of Braille astronomy–Touch the Stars, Touch the Universe and Touch the Sun. [Universe and Sun fetch between $35-70 on ABE, Stars appears to be unavailable but may have been updated and retitled as Touch the Universe]


    Radio: NPR - WNYC “Morning Edition” 1/15/08

    Interview with Otto Penzler, editor of the Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps and owner of the Mysterious Bookshop. Penzler cites Carroll John Daly as the creator of the first hard-boiled PI (and simultaneously the first recurring/series PI), Race Williams. [Daly firsts and early editions fetch $90-500 and more for higher grades]. Tip via the Bookthink NewsBlog.

    Magazine Article: “The Roving Eye: Lee Miller, artist and Muse” by Judith Thurman, New Yorker, 1/21/08

    Biographical overview on model, photographer, and surrealist paramour, Lee Miller. Numerous works cited including: Lee Miller: A Life by Carolyn Burke; The Lives of Lee Miller by Anthony Penrose; Vogue Magazine March 1927 (with a Georges Lepape cover image of Miller) and June 1945 (containing Miller’s Dachau concentration camp image) [issues will likely fetch between $100-300 depending on condition and description]; Man Ray’s autobiography Self-Portrait.

    Magazine Article: “Mystery on Pearl Street” by Burkhard Bilger, New Yorker, 1/7/08

    Interesting article on the attempted historical preservation of 211 Pearl Street in Manhattan, an architectural mishmash of NYC eras and the possible inspiration for Herman Melville’s story “Bartleby the Scrivener”. Mentions a history of the scrap industry, Cash for Your Trash by Carl A. Zimring [Rutgers 2005, $25+ on Amazon] (mis-cited as “Cash for Trash” in the article) and The Kingdom of Matthias: a Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th-Century America by Paul E. Johnson and Sean Wilentz, on a partner-swapping cult founded in Ossining, NY (book title not specified in the article).

    Magazine Article: “Prophet Motive” by Joan Acocella, New Yorker, 1/7/08

    Revealing (and not terribly flattering) article on poet and mystic Kahlil Gibran. Mentions photographer and publisher Fred Holland Day who took childhood portraits of Gibran and founded Copeland & Day; publishers of some key limited editions in the Decadent and Art Nouveau schools.


    The Bookseller’s Gazette is edited by William Smith of Hang Fire Books. Read his blog and visit his store here.

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    17. Portrait of an Aspiring Illustrator: Marsha Riti


    marsharitiMarsha Riti grew up in Texas where everything is big, including dreams. So I assumed that she had always dreamed of becoming a children’s book illustrator. Truth is, Marsha knew she had a place in the arts, but it took her a while to discover where that place was.

    Marsha currently resides in Austin but she was raised in “the sticks.” Living in a sparsely populated town forced Marsha to use her imagination for entertainment. (Good training for a children’s book illustrator, huh?)

    When Marsha’s not at her desk, you might find her cleaning, cooking, gardening, creating pottery, doing math homework, and hanging out with her boyfriend and friends.

    bringing-in-the-harvestMarsha, how did you evolve from doodler to doer? What got you started in children’s book illustration?

    I was always the best at drawing in high school so when I went off to college it was a no-brainer. In college I tried doing a little bit of everything. My only regret would be not taking metal working or lithography. Even though my interests were (and still are) all over the place I have always loved drawing.

    After receiving my BFA from the University of Texas at Austin I went to work for a string of locally owned businesses, some of which were related to the arts, others were not. These jobs were great learning experiences: I can now show great professionalism in the face of adversity and I have also found my true love, illustration.

    How did you find your true love?

    I took a children’s book illustration class at a local art school. My teacher Mark Mitchell did a great job inspiring me to pursue children’s book illustration. He made the idea of being an illustrator accessible. Before I took his class I had no idea about where to start, but he did a really good job outlining ways to get into the field. I also got a better understanding of watercolor form taking Mark’s class.

    fullmoonovertreehouse1funintherain1

    Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your illustrations?

    Two of the sample paintings were assignments given to me by my boyfriend, artist and designer Adam Norwood. He just gave me a simple phrase like: “full moon over the treehouse” and “fun in the rain.” Then I thought of an image that would best fit the words.

    The other sample painting titled “Treasure Apartments” is for a book dummy titled Treasure Hunt that I have not yet finished. Here is a description of the painting:

    treasure-apartmentsEach apartment has a very specific owner: the top is a fashionable twenty-something who loves the mid-century look. The next apartment houses the main character, the little girl. Her father (behind the paper) has been everywhere and has the trappings to show it. Then there is the pink apartment—she has lived a long life and loves to listen to her vintage record collection. The bottom apartment is a stay-at-home programmer who is also a bike enthusiast.

    I really enjoy using my imagination to think up all kinds of interesting scenarios and characters. Then I get to think about the attire and items that would best show their persona. It is like playing with a really elaborate doll house.

    treasure-apartments-detailHow would you describe your illustration style?

    I think my style is illustrative and cartoony with an emphasis on fun.

    Some of my favorite children’s book illustrators are: Samuel Ribeyron, Jean-Baptise Monge, Graeme Base, and Lisbeth Zwerger. These illustrators are inspiring to me because their work is visually deep both in the sense of space but also because they have texture and substance.

    I am inspired by the composition of Japanese woodblock prints by Katsushika Hokusai.

    For figure study and line inspiration I like to look at drawings and etchings by the old masters: Rembrandt, Titian, and Durer.

    I have a fondness for minimalist art by Donald Judd, Frank Stella, and Carl Andre. For an artist to be able to break their aesthetics about line, weight, color, composition, and form, down to its base level is very inspiring to me.

    I love the color field paintings by Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. They amaze me–the scale of their paintings envelopes you in color and can really change your mood.

    I also find inspiration from installation art by James Turrell. His installations show beauty in nature in a deceptively simple way.

    Other influences would be the early cartooning done by Winsor McKay and George Herriman. Their innovation, imagination, and humor are strong influences on me.

    I guess I subscribe to the “less is more” school of thought that I am trying to merge with my love of lush illustration.

    What are your goals for the future?
     
    Finishing my first book dummy, getting work, and improving as an artist and storyteller.

    Marsha, thank you for sharing your amazing art! Good luck to you!

    Marsha Riti is a member of Austin SCBWI. To learn more about her work, visit MarshaRiti.com and follow Marsha on Twitter @MarshaRiti. (Besides her daily doodles, I enjoy Marsha’s daily vintage furniture picks from the Austin Craigslist.)

    5 Comments on Portrait of an Aspiring Illustrator: Marsha Riti, last added: 5/18/2009
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    18. Go Get Carin Berger’s “OK Go” Today! OK? (And kids, enter her contest!)


    okgoCarin Berger never deliberately set out to become an author/illustrator, but she found her true calling in picture books. She was awarded the Society of Illustrators Founder’s Award in 2006, the NY Times named The Little Yellow Leaf one of the top ten picture books of 2008, and Publishers Weekly called her “one to watch.”

    And now’s a great time to watch.

    Her latest title OK Go, a playful book about making greener choices, releases in bookstores today.

    I had the opportunity to talk with Carin about her journey to publication (somewhat serendipitous) and her plans for the future (deliberately delightful). I shall follow PW’s lead and not only watch her, but predict the Caldecott will soon be calling.

    Carin, how did you start on the path to becoming a children’s book illustrator?

    I’ve always loved reading, writing, old paper stuff, children’s books, type and making things. I studied graphic design and spent almost 20 years working in the field. I worked my way down the (pay) food chain towards what I really loved: from very high-end annual reports and brochures to eventually designing book jackets for all the major publishers. I did jackets for poetry, fiction and non-fiction. I still do this and love it. I get to read manuscripts and can often use my own illustration or photography.

    Anyhow, I had a daughter, and it turned out she was a sleepless wonder. (When she was little. Now she sleeps like a baby!) I spent much of most evenings hanging with her, waiting for her to fall asleep. I wrote the poems for Not So True Stories and Unreasonable Rhymes in those long hours, mostly to amuse myself.

    carinbergerpaperHow did you first get involved in collage?

    As for collage, that was kind of serendipity. I thought I would do paintings and was experimenting with different painting styles, some which included collage, and then my friend gave me a magic box full of old letters and documents and ephemera that she picked up at a flea market, knowing I had a thing for that kind of stuff. And that was the beginning.

    Once I had pulled together some sample illustrations and manuscript, a friend-of-a-friend agreed to rep it; and she, amazingly, ushered it into the world.

    And was Not So True Stories and Unreasonable Rhymes your first manuscript?

    Yes, it was my first manuscript, though I’d written a bit, for myself, before.

    umbrellaphantWow. That’s a rare accomplishment and speaks volumes about your talent. Where did you go from that first success?

    Not So True Stories was a quirky little book that got good reviews but sold…well, like a quirky little book. Chronicle Books graciously published my second book, All Mixed Up, another quirky and very little book. (It can fit in your pocket.)

    I was then called by Greenwillow Books and asked to illustrate Jack Prelutsky’s book. A real honor. And, because it was the amazing Master Jack’s book, it received lots of nice attention. He was named the first ever Children’s Poet Laureate right when the book came out which meant that there was a shiny golden sticker that went on the front of the book, too. I’ve been working with Greenwillow Books for the last couple of projects.

    How has your illustration style evolved from one book to the next?

    As for the collage style, it has sort of evolved in a few directions.

    allmixedupAll Mixed Up, a mix and match book where the heads, middles and legs (as well as the alliterative poems) combine in various ways to make new characters, was born out of the idea of collaging the collaged illustration. I had originally conceived it as a game, but Chronicle preferred to do it as a book. The illustrations are similar, yet somewhat simpler than Not so True Stories, so that the mixing worked.

    For Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant, I wanted to do a slightly different style than the books that I had authored, and also, because the poems are about a conglomeration of animals and objects (such as Ballpoint Penguins), I thought it would be fun to play that up and make it really obvious.

    I collect old dictionaries and army/navy catalogues that have engraved images, and so I used those images and integrated them into the collage. To do this I actually scanned engravings from the book, played with them in Photoshop, printed out pieces and used them to cut and paste with.

    littleyellowleafThe Little Yellow Leaf felt like a really simple, nostalgic story and I ended up introducing a bit of paint (stenciling) to the collage to add another layer and also, at times, to age the paper.

    Ok Go has a zillion funny little characters carousing throughout the book and feels much more like the art in the end papers of Not so True Stories and also in All Mixed Up. It was fun to change things up a bit and to do such playful art.

    My next book, due out late next winter, is called Forever Friends and the art is much more similar to the art in The Little Yellow Leaf. I see it as a companion book to The Little Yellow Leaf because the bunny on the front cover and the bird on the back cover of Leaf are the characters in Forever Friends.

    Your newest picture book OK Go is a playful book for the wee set, all about making greener choices. How did the concept for this book come together?

    As best I can recall, it all sort of came as a whole piece. I liked the idea of introducing taking care of the environment to really young kids. I remember growing up in the 70s when “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute” was around and feeling very empowered to help make the world a better place. Here are some early sketches:

    okgoinside

    One of the biggest things I needed to figure out was how to emphasize the message in a powerful yet playful way. The gatefold came about because I wanted it to feel like a huge gathering or movement.

    How do you choose which paper to cut for certain images? Does the paper speak to you?

    carinbergerpaper2I have files of papers sorted by color—yellows/oranges, reds/pinks, blues/purples—and I also have files for some of my passions: polka dots, plaids, wood grain, buttons…

    carinbergerpaper3I actually cut a vellum stencil of the shape I need and hold it over the paper to find a good section. Something with good gradations for example, that help the piece, say a car, look more dimensional. Clothing catalogs are great for plaids and buttons. And then I use a variety of old stuff, both really old ephemera like letters and receipts with great calligraphy on them and also bits and pieces that I find around: ticket stubs, laundry tags, etc.

    Do the words on the paper hold any significance?

    I do think about the paper I use, where it comes from and what it says. Not in a huge way, but in a quiet, just-to-amuse-myself sort of way. And in almost every book I make sure to include, somewhere, my daughter’s name, Thea. In The Little Yellow Leaf it appears on the page with the giant sun, and in OK Go I use her name and the names and initials of lots of friends to decorate the cars.

    Speaking of the glorious sun in The Little Yellow Leaf, do you have any idea how many pieces of paper you used? Or how long it took to create that page?

    leafsun

    I always knew what I wanted to do with that illustration, but it took a little longer (well, w-a-y longer) than I thought it would. I spent probably close to a week on it. Actually, part of the reason it took so long is that I started from the outside and was working my way towards the center and I got pretty far before I realized that, because the sun is asymmetrical, it wasn’t going to work. I had to add another layer working from the center out. Ugh!

    I have absolutely no idea how many pieces there are, and I can’t imagine anyone who would be nuts enough to count (though I’d be curious to know that)!

    Circling back to your newest book, what kind of impact do you hope OK Go will have on green thinking among parents and young children?

    There are some very simple things that kids can do to be more green and they are listed in the back of the book.

    I think if you plant the idea early, children will live more careful, aware lives, and remind their parents to do so as well. Plus, what is more motivating than our kids to get us to take care of this planet and the environment?

    But mostly I want kids to have fun with the book, and to be introduced these ideas in a playful, engaging way.

    One last thought: all of my art is made with found and recycled materials, so maybe this will prove inspiring and enabling, too.

    Indeed it is, Carin! So let’s use that inspiration for a contest!

    Kids age 10 and under, create a collage with a green theme–reduce, reuse, recycle or whatever you can dream up! Email your illustration to tarawrites at yahoo (you know the rest, dot com) and include child’s first name and age.

    With the help of Random.org, we’ll randomly select three winners.

    The grand prize winner gets an autographed copy of  OK Go. The second and third winners will receive an All Mixed Up promotional mini-book. And all three illustrations will be featured on Carin Berger’s website and/or blog.

    In your email, be sure to grant your permission for sharing the illustration and the child’s first name/age online.

    One illustration per child. Enter now through midnight E.S.T., Tuesday, May 12.

    Carin, thank you for giving us a glimpse into your beautiful world! I bet everyone is going to GO! GO! GO! get your book today!

    okgo1

    Take a peek inside OK Go or
    Find OK Go at your local bookstore!

    OK Go by Carin Berger
    April 2009
    Greenwillow Books

    8 Comments on Go Get Carin Berger’s “OK Go” Today! OK? (And kids, enter her contest!), last added: 5/18/2009
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    19. Portrait of an Aspiring Illustrator: Jonathan Woodward


    jonwoodwardJonathan Woodward’s an artist, a nomad and a soon-to-be father. The man behind Zero2Illo.com, a blog for aspiring children’s book illustrators, Jon shares his passion for creativity and his good business sense.

    Woodward grew up in Nottingham, the home of Robin Hood. (Hmm, no wonder he was drawn to children’s literature.) He was known as the “arty one” in school, the kid who would always be asked to draw the posters for school plays.

    After studying Graphic Design in college, Woodward worked as an in-house designer before going freelance in 2006.

    To Woodward, freelance means freedom to explore. He and his wife rented out their UK home in 2007 and have been on the road since, living in Panama, Buenos Aires, Grenada, Toronto, South Africa, Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai. The internet makes running their marketing and design business from anywhere possible.

    Jon, how do your travels influence your illustration style?

    I wouldn’t say that they have directly influenced it from color or style perspective based on the different cultures that we have seen (although that is an aspect I really love about the travel), but having seen so much beautiful wildlife and nature around the world, it has definitely influenced the subject matter that I illustrate.JWsorrow

    Tell us about some of your most recent illustrations.

    One for Sorrow, Two for Joy is the piece that led to my current collage style of working. I’d been flicking through magazines and noticed how much the hair on a particular advert looked like tree bark–it was one of those light bulb moments!

    The idea for the final illustration came from a song I was listening to at the time that coincidentally tied in with my idea for the tree (and my love of crows!).

    JWphoenix

    The Phoenix is from a recent set of four illustrations based on mythical beasts. Here I was trying to pare down the collage to a bare minimum–to create a bolder, simpler illustration style that might be more suitable for a children’s book.

    I enjoy finding textures of a particular surface that are perfect for conveying a totally different texture in the illustration. This happened with the feet of the Phoenix. I found a picture of a model wearing a sparkly bejeweled top and instantly knew that I had to use it for the feet.

    This piece was done mostly in traditional collage, with just a bit of detailing, adding the white eye and pumping up the colours a little in Photoshop.

    JWsheep  JWwolf

    A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing is where I first started using acrylic paint alongside the collage medium. It’s a technique born out of necessity, as I was struggling to find a magazine clipping to represent the wolf fur, so I started working into the collage with paint. I got a bit carried away in the end and ended up painting the sheep’s head and zipper on top of the collage, too.

    This was an interesting piece personally, as I had previously been creating collages digitally using scanned magazine clippings, but I realized that my choice of texture ended up being a lot more interesting if I did the collage traditionally using whatever I could find within the magazines and materials I had. I don’t think I would have chosen the printed text to represent the sheep wool had I been doing the piece digitally.

    Who are some of your favorite illustrators?

    My illustration inspirations and interests are quite diverse, ranging from artists like Jon Foster, Dave McKean and James Jean all the way to Shaun Tan and J. Otto Seibold.

    What is your ultimate goal as a children’s book illustrator?

    I initially thought I wanted to go into comics or sci-fi and fantasy illustration for book covers, but the theme and content of my illustrations always seemed to gravitate back to one of my other passions: wildlife and nature. If I was only ever allowed to illustrate creatures great and small for the rest of my illustration career, I’d be a very happy man.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful artwork, Jon!

    If you’re interested in learning more about the ilustration and design work of Jonathan Woodward, visit his blog Zero2Illo.com and follow him on Twitter at @jonwoodward.

    7 Comments on Portrait of an Aspiring Illustrator: Jonathan Woodward, last added: 5/29/2009
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    20. PiBoIdMo Art Gallery #2


    This is the second art gallery by illustrators who participated in November’s 30-picture-book-ideas-in-30-days PiBoIdMo challenge. You can see ideas taking shape–in the form of characters. (If you didn’t already know, editors are keen on character-driven picture books these days.) And just think, once these stories are published, you can say “I knew them when…”

    Loni Edwards

    “This is a sketch from my story about going to Nana’s house. I’m entitling it ‘Two Kids in a Sandbox’ until I evolve the story more. I sketch, then I ink using a light table. I scan the piece into Photoshop where I color with a Wacom Tablet.”

    Lynn Anne Bemis

    “I have not taken lessons as an illustrator. I am a ‘wannabe’ and this is the first year I started adding drawings to my story ideas. So as simple as they are, I am showing them to you. I am, you could say, ‘A work in progress.’”

    Debbie Ridpath Ohi

    “Regarding the first sketch, this is how I brainstorm sometimes and I figured I’d try it for PiBoIdMo. As you can tell, um, my sketches are VERY rough.

    “I’ve always been fascinated by the juxtaposition of cute and scary. The monster guy in the second drawing was inspired by Little Nightmares, which I’d eventually like to include in a picture book. The girl is a character I came up with for my Snarkface cards and she demanded to be included in the drawing as well.

    “The third sketch looks drawn on paper, but I actually did it in Corel Painter. I find that experimenting with different virtual media is fun, plus I enjoy trying out different styles. I did this sketch to accompany a text picture book idea. One of the reasons I enjoyed PiBoIdMo so much was because it not only inspired me as a writer but also as an illustrator.”

    One more gallery to come, kidlit fans! Stop back soon for more insight into the illustrative process.

    8 Comments on PiBoIdMo Art Gallery #2, last added: 12/20/2009
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