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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!
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.
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!
* 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!
* 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
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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
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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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).
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.
Marsha 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.
Marsha, 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.
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:
Each 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.
How 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.)
Carin 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.
How 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.
Wow. 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.
All 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.
The 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:
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?
I 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…
I 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?
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!
Jonathan 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.
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!).
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.
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.
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…”
“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.”
“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.’”
“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.
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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