What is JacketFlap

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

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

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

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Comments

Recently Viewed

MyJacketFlap Blogs

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

Blog Posts by Tag

In the past 30 days

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing Blog: Devas T. Rants and Raves!, Most Recent at Top
Results 1 - 25 of 653
Visit This Blog | Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
Blog Banner
An illustrator living in Austin, Texas. Don Tate II specializes in children's publishing.
Statistics for Devas T. Rants and Raves!

Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 36

My blog can now be found ----->here, at my website!

Please update your link to my blog. Thanks for your support.

0 Comments on MY BLOG HAS MOVED... as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
2. I'm in transition

Changes. I've blogged here at Rants and Raves since early 2005. For better or for worse, it served as a testing ground for my burgeoning author career. It advanced my illustration and speaking career. Here is where I discovered my voice.

And it ain't over yet. I'm not closing this blog, I'm only moving it. Please look for Rants and Raves at my newly redesigned website (redesigned by Erik Kuntz). Occasionally I may post something here, but for the most part this blog will remain as an archive.

Thanks for your continued support.

0 Comments on I'm in transition as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
3. On the road...

So far April's been a busy month. I've visited schools and presented at book fairs. And then there was the Texas Library Association conference. I haven't been able to do much writing or illustrating. But that changes immediately, as I have deadlines. Here are a few pics from the past few weeks.

Below: I finished off March visiting Windsor Park Elementary in Corpus Christi, Texas. It was a very sharp group of kids.

Below: A week later, I found myself back in Corpus Christi, presenting to kids at the Children's Book Festival. On the night before the festival, there was a book signing in which college students performed two of my books -- illustrated and all. Here I am with a few of the artists:

On the day of the festival, we presented to little under a thousand kids. The two other authors were Keith Graves and Salima Alikhan, pictured below:

3 Comments on On the road..., last added: 4/21/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
4. Highlights Chautauqua, art sales, school visits

Earlier this week on Twitter, I predicted a good week ahead. And a good week it has been. First of all, I received the good news that I was awarded a scholarship to attend the Highlights Foundation's 2011 Chautauqua workshops. A special thanks goes out to my publisher, Charlesbridge, for making this happen. I've heard nothing but wonderful stories from authors and illustrators who have attended the Chautauqua workshops, so I'm looking forward to it.

On Wednesday, I was contacted by an art collector and former minor league baseball team owner. He was interested in purchasing several original pieces of art from the Effa Manley book, SHE LOVED BASEBALL. At first I was reluctant because I almost never sell my art. Crazy, I know, an artist who doesn't sell art. But I use my art for school visits. I loosened up a bit and decided to sell a few pieces from this book.

On Thursday, I traveled to Corpus Christi, where I presented to students at Windsor Park Elementary school. It's an international baccalaureate school for advanced academics. I'm not quite sure what that means, but the kids were very smart.

Funny though, the situation I found myself in. Between presentations, an enthusiastic parent asked me to visit her child's classroom for a photograph. Upon entering the classroom, I hear the words, "Mr. Tate, would you popcorn dance with our class?" And a little voice in my head said, "Heck no! No-no-no, I don't dance." But before I could stop the scene, I was surrounded by kids shaking their butts, squatting way down low, and then popping up to the sky. I had no choice but to join in, and I prayed my knees wouldn't give out squatting that low. For those of you who know me, this is way out of my character, and when I told my son about it, he literally fell on the floor laughing.

Before leaving the school, one of the classrooms gave me a stack of letters. I enjoyed them all, but I got a big kick out of one letter in particular, where a kid drew a picture of me drawing cartoons. Isn't it great?

Next week, I'll return to Corpus Christi to participate in the 11th Annual Children's Book Festival.

5. Hanging out at BookPeople

This morning I visited BookPeople, Austin's local independent book store. I had a ball.

I used to visit bookstores all the time, mainly hanging out in the picture book section. But that was back in the day when bookstores had wall-to-wall displays of new picture book titles, and aisle after aisle of shelves filled with picture books.

Not to diss Dr. Seus or Goodnight Moon or Velveteen Rabbit. These are classics, well deserving of their permanent book space. But I already know about these books. Don't you? I like to visit bookstores to see the new stuff—picture books written and illustrated by contemporary authors and artists. But the newer books are practically gone in the large chains! At least in Austin they are. So what has this meant for books featuring brown characters? Nonfiction picture books? Those written and illustrated by locals? They're not in the chains either.

Recently, I went to Borders looking for a copy of Yummy and Bamboo People, award-winning books published in the past couple years. They told me they no longer stock books by smaller independent book publishers. What?

BookPeople, however, does. And best of all, they continue to stock picture books. Sure picture book real estate at BookPeople has shrunk. And — ahem! — they didn't even have any of my books stocked today (phooey, phooey, phooey). But regardless, they have best selection of children and YA books in town.

Here are a few books that caught my eye this afternoon:

The Secret River. I bought this bad boy. Didn't even have to think about it. Leo and Diane Dillon have done it again.

He Came With the Couch
is not particularly new, it published in 2005. But that's what I like about BookPeople, they stock the old, the new, and the classics. Such a funny story, very cool illustrations.

2 Comments on Hanging out at BookPeople, last added: 3/23/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
6. Nice review; Black All Around!

Black All Around!, a children's picture book that I illustrated, written by Patricia Hubbell, received a nice review from the February 2011 edition of the Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children's media. Interesting thing is, the review came 7 years after publication. I ain't complaining though, it's totally cool. Here's what they said:

"Graceful antidote to the still present ‘white is right’ mentality, the color black is celebrated in its fullest from a sleek black limousine to a shiny black beetle. A little girl is daydreaming in the moon glow with simple rhymes. Fun illustrations conjure up every beautiful black thing she can imagine until she drifts off to sleep. This was a Connecticut Book Award Finalist at first publication."

Black All Around! has received some of the best reviews and comments of my career, I'm happy. Great end to a busy week.

7 Comments on Nice review; Black All Around!, last added: 3/14/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
7. Book Fair

My son's school had their Scholastic Book Fair today. He picked out many books, but I bought one for myself, too — For The Love of Basketball: From A to Z, written by Frederick C. Klein, illustrated by Mark W. Anderson.

I'm not into basketball at all. I don't play, I don't watch, I don't discuss it . . . ever. And I'm not familiar with the author or illustrator. But I LOVED the illustrations! Crisp, fun, spontaneous. And the illustration of Shaquille O'Neal, outstanding!

Interesting, though. I could not find one image of this book on the internet to post in this blog. No mention of it on Amazon, Goodreads, anywhere. Too bad, it's a great book.

0 Comments on Book Fair as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
8. Editorial stuff

Copyright Don Tate/Austin American-Statesman

0 Comments on Editorial stuff as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
9. A valuable lesson almost cost me my home

This year we had one of the merriest Christmases ever. Happened because I entered the season with a plan: Set a budget for Christmas spending; Don’t dip into family living expenses to buy Christmas gifts. Don't go into debt. The plan worked. I learned that Christmas does not have to be stressful. Too bad I almost lost my home learning this lesson.

Several months ago, we received a foreclosure notice. I was shocked. My wife wasn't. I had been too busy with work. I wasn’t paying attention to boring stuff like family finances. I wasn't paying attention to my wife who was flailing in a raging river of endless bills, disconnect utility notices, demands for payment.

I dealt with the problem by hoping it would go away. I was on deadline. I had books to sketch. Manuscripts to rewrite. I had speaking engagements, book signings, literary mix-and-mingles, school visits. I didn't have time to bother myself with a foreclosure. Who are these people messing with my fun anyway? I left the problem to my wife, she’ll fix it. I illustrate children’s books, she puts out family fires. Thing was, I was too busy (or blind) to realize she had resigned from her position as family firefighter long ago. Our family finances were like a tiny boat in a big roaring sea, with no captain steering the thing.

Several more weeks passed, and I continued to work. Occasionally I popped my head out of the studio long enough to ask my wife how things were going with the foreclosure. She'd smile, try to reassure me that everything would be okay. "Stop worrying," she said. "God doesn't want you to worry." She’s a very spiritual woman, so she prayed and didn’t think about finances beyond that.

One day, while I was home alone painting a book, we received another certified letter. It stated that our home would be sold at auction in a few weeks. I stood there holding the letter, my Adams Apple growing a size so large I couldn't breath.

I was scared. Embarrassed. Ashamed. Mostly, I worried about my son. Our house is the only home he’s known since birth. And while families move all the time, a sudden move from our 2,600 square-foot house to a cracker-box-size apartment . . . somewhere . . . would surly wreak havoc on his world. Heck, my grown, adult daughters still give me grief about my move from Des Moines to Austin when they were teenagers. I didn’t want to let my son down, not to mention disappoint my wife.

Over the next few days I got busy—no, not illustrating children's books—making phone calls, sending emails, contacting customers. The thing about being a freelancer is that someone always owes you a little somethin’—somethin’. Thankfully I was able to fix our situation before the house went to auction.

Things happen for a reason, I believe that. Almost losing our home was stressful, but in the end, I'm so thankful it happened. My wife and I, we a

4 Comments on A valuable lesson almost cost me my home, last added: 12/31/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
10. Happy Holidays!

This is an old cartoon, originally posted on my now defunct Brotha Buck blog. I revived this strip, used it my holiday cards, and I sent to a few art directors, editors and licensing clients. Although the blog is now closed down, the cartoons still exist. Looking back, I still think they're funny. When I get some time later next year, I plan to move the cartoons here and continue the saga of Brotha Buck, Tamsy and Kirby.

0 Comments on Happy Holidays! as of 12/19/2010 6:06:00 AM
Add a Comment
11. A note to aspiring authors who've contacted me

Because I'm a children's book illustrator, and a loud-mouth social networker, I tend to attract A LOT! of proposals from authors with book ideas. I hate turning people away, and I'd love to assist if I could. But please know, I'm a book creator myself. I illustrate. I write. And I'm knocking doors just like you, trying to figure this crazy business out.

If you're an author who's messaged me with a book idea, and I haven't responded to you, please know I'm not intentionally ignoring you. If you've emailed a manuscript to me, and I haven't responded, please don't take it personally — I'm just not sure what to do with it and all the other requests. If I took the time to respond to every email, Facebook personal message, direct message tweet, I wouldn't have time to do what I do -- write and illustrate children's books (and social network).

In the meantime, I highly advice you to join your local and national SCBWI.

Thanks for your patience, I'm rooting for you.

0 Comments on A note to aspiring authors who've contacted me as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
12. A new book for African American quilters

Author Kyra E. Hicks included my name in her new book 1.6 Million African American Quilters: Survey, Sites, and a Half-Dozen Art Quilt Blocks. The book is about Black quilt makers -- quilt industry figures including numbers of Black quilters nationally, resources of websites, blogs, and YouTube videos featuring African American quilters and guilds. I'm included in a section called Black Quilters in Cyberspace. Although I'm certainly not a quilter -- though I could be if I wanted to, I'm good with my hands -- I was included because of the fabric I designed awhile ago for David's Textiles (example). The fabric is no longer available, but it's still in demand. To this day people email me looking for the product, or for other fabric featuring African American images.

What a fine resource Kyra has created.

0 Comments on A new book for African American quilters as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
13. 2010 goals met

In March I finished a nonfiction picture book that I wrote and illustrated. My agent began to shop it around after a few rounds of revisions. You know the routine, rejection, rejection, rejection. Very nice, complimentary, rejections, but rejections none the less. It would have sold quicker in a better book-buying economy.

On the flip-side, several editors have shown interest, and it's currently in the hands of a fantastic editor. I’ve made a round of revisions with her, and it’s under consideration by the publisher. I'm confident an offer will follow soon. Fingers crossed.

In April, a month following shoulder surgery, I began sketching Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite, a picture book written by Anna Harwell Celenza. It’s slated to publish with Charlesbridge late next year. Recovery from surgery went much slower than my doctor predicted. He figured, guy like me — in shape, works out several times per week — would heal quickly. He was wrong. Three months after the surgery, I was still in intense pain, I could not raise my hand above my shoulders, and then my shoulder froze. I began two months of physical therapy.

Because of the time invested in physical therapy, and then the challenges of summer — family reunions, vacations, my grandpa's 90th birthday — I didn't finish the sketches until fall. So I'm a bit behind. But the book has turned out well, and I'm looking forward to painting it soon, this time, in watercolor and ink (I normally paint in oil or acrylic).

In October, She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story, written by Audrey Vernick, published with HarperCollins. Reviews have been favorable, and we even received a star from School Library Journal. Top it off, Audrey commissioned a wonderful book trailer that, to date, has received more than 500 hits -- it's gone viral!

Yesterday on Facebook, I announced my next book project: THE CART, written by the beloved and legendary Eve Bunting. It’s a brilliant story, unexpected, clever, creative, and it ends with a new twist. But that’s all I can say at this time. The book is going to require a bit of research, so I'm looking forward to making a little one-day trip to the east coast in the spring. I’ll visit museums and historic sites, and I’ll meet with a few author/illustrator friends in the area.

Recently I finished a first draft of another nonfiction picture book. The topic is a sports figure. Can you believe, me? writing about sports? Writing a nonfiction picture book about a subject not published before is nerve wrecking. I'm afraid at any day someone else will publish the story, and I'll have wasted my time, money and energy. That has happened to me before. I'd done some preliminary research, ordered and read some books on the subject, began a first draft. And soon afterwards another author cam

1 Comments on 2010 goals met, last added: 11/24/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
14. Book signings and festivals

Over the past few days, I had the pleasure of participating in two very special book events — a signing at Menchaca Elementary School's Scholastic Book Fair and the Savannah Children's Book festival. I had an absolutely fantastic time at both events, though each one had it's own way of feeding or starving my ego.

Last Thursday evening, I signed books at Menchaca. The librarians there are SO good. They really excited the kids about my book Ron's Big Mission, so much so that it became the hottest seller at the fair. It sold 99 copies and I was honored to be there to sign most of them. Check out the nice display behind the table. I can't thank the librarians enough.

Following that event, I flew to Georgia where I was a featured author-ilustrator in the the 7th annual Savannah Children's Book Festival. This is a top-notch festival, to say the least. More than 30,000 people attended the festival last year, and this year was even bigger. The lineup included included Judy Schachner, “Skippyjon Jones”; Anna Dewdney, “Llama Llama Red Pajama”, in addition to Alan Katz, Brian Jordan, Pat Mora, Vicky Alvear Schecter, Charles R. Smith, others. I was especially excited to meet two very young authors, 9- and 11-year-old Miles and William Rabun, who wrote the book "My Grandma's Backyard." Behind Judy and Anna, they were clearly the most popular authors at the festival.

My book signing (above) was a bit, um, humbling. But that happens sometimes, and I found much humor in the situation.

When I returned, I received this wonderful letter from the mother of an attendee. This made my day and I thank her for sending this along.

5 Comments on Book signings and festivals, last added: 11/16/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
15. She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story. It's release day!

Today, October 19, is release day for She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story, a book that I illustrated, written by the wonderful Audrey Vernick. The book released with this wonderful trailer put together by Kristen Cappy of Curious City. Ain’t it grand?

But even before release day, She Loved Baseball was honored as a Junior Library Guild 2010 fall selection. And just today, we received more good news: A starred review from School Library Journal! Whoo-hoo!

Here’s what else folks are saying:
Both author and illustrator are on top of their games as they bring this inspiring story to life.
-- School Library Journal

Tate’s muscular illustrations illuminate and breathe life into the events. He skillfully emphasizes emotions, giving every character a distinct personality and demeanor.

Vernick adds appeal to this straightforward biography with repetitive phrases that emphasize Manley’s activist spirit, while Tate’s slightly stylized acrylic paintings convey both the historical setting and the timeless excitement in the ballpark.
-- Booklist

Tate's energetic illustrations harmonize well with Vernick's fresh and engaging text.
-- Publisher’s Weekly

Thanks, Audrey, for writing such a wonderful and important story. And for having this very cool trailer made.

3 Comments on She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story. It's release day!, last added: 10/21/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
16. Texas Book Festival weekend, 2010

I had a fantastic weekend at the Texas Book Festival. On Friday evening, I attended the coolest party with the coolest people -- authors and illustrators from all over the country. The party was hosted at the home of literary director Clay Smith. I hung out mostly with local austin writers, but I also rubbed elbows with the likes of Peter Brown, David Weisner, Tony DiTerlizzi. I also got to meet Duncan Tonatiuh, a relative new-comer to the children's literature scene, but a shooting star none the less.

On Saturday morning, I had the honor of introducing author Phillip Hoose, National Book Award winner for CLAUDETTE COVIN: TWICE TOWARDS JUSTICE. Phil's presentation was informative, and his passion for the subject lit the dark senate chambers like a light tower. Towards the end of the session, when a photo of an elderly Claudette was displayed, I even felt a bit choked up. This woman played a major part in desegregating the Montgomery, Alabama bus system -- and therefore elevating civil rights for Blacks in this country as a whole. Heck, she started it all, refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger months before Rosa Parks. But Claudette was shunned by history -- likely because she didn't have the right hair, the right background, the right look. And because she got pregnant as a teen. I'm happy this woman is finally getting her story told and taking her due place in history.

Saturday evening, my wife and I attended a cocktail party for Texas Book Festival authors and moderators. It was on the 32nd floor of the Four Seasons hotel. Very classy. Very posh. Somehow all that ritz made us forget how poor we really are -- we were literally lulled us into thinking we could dine at a thirty-seven dollar a bowl gumbo restaurant. But the realization of how empty our bank accounts really were sent us fleeing from the restaurant before the waiter could take our water order.

On Sunday, I hung out with a few of my SCBWI writing friends. We gathered together to watch Chris Barton read his book SHARK VS. TRAIN. I also took in Duncan Tonatiuh (DEAR PRIMO: A LETTER TO MY COUSIN), and Cynthia Leitich Smith (HOLLER LOUDLY).

In the afternoon, I attended a very interesting and scholarly discussion with author-historian Neil Foley. He discussed his book, QUEST FOR EQUALITY, which deals with civil rights and race relations between whites, Blacks and Mexicans in Texas and California. Very enlightening.

I ended th

1 Comments on Texas Book Festival weekend, 2010, last added: 10/18/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
17. How I became a Texas literary scoundrel

Let me tell you how much of a pain-in-the-butt I can be when I want to. Recently I was invited to join forces with six Texas authors, to promote children's literature. The group calls themselves the Texas Sweethearts. You've probably heard of 'em already, cute little things they are — P.J. Hoover, Jessica Anderson, Jo Wittemore. Sweethearts through and through, no doubt. There was just one little problem: I ain't no Sweetheart and don't be calling me one.

I was honored to have been invited to join the group, they've made quite a name for themselves in the children's literature community. I immediately accepted their invitation. But the name, the name! What were we going to do about that?

I told my wife, "Honey, I'm joining a group of girls, we're calling ourselves the Texas Sweethearts."

And she asked, "So you're pledging a sorority?" That was enough for me, we had to change the name.

I made some suggestions: Texas Sweethearts And one Dude; Texas Sweethearts And a Somewhat Nice Guy; The Texas Sweethearts And Their Brotha From Anotha Motha. None of these names truck a chord with the ladies.

They made suggestions, too: Texas Sweethearts & Arts; Texas Sweethearts & A Sweet Hunk; Texas sweethearts and one Texas Ranger; Texas Sweethearts and one Cowboy. None of these names struck a chord with me. I don't see myself as a sweetheart or a cowboy either.

I sensed frustration. I didn't want to cause a headache with the ladies, but Sweetheart . . . come on, now. Seriously.

Finally, one of the new Sweethearts – Jeanette Larson — suggested a name that I absolutely loved: Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels. I could do that!

So it was final. We are calling ourselves the Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels: Seven Authors and Illustrators Who Write for Teens. The team: P.J. Hoover, Jessica Lee Anderson, Jo Whittemore, K.A. Holt, Emma J. Virján, Jeanette Larson, and me, Don Tate aka, Devas the Scoundrel.

So, what do we do now? We'll visit schools. Do conferences. We'll highlight other authors on the blog. Support each other in our marketing efforts. Most of all, we'll have a lot of fun!

5 Comments on How I became a Texas literary scoundrel, last added: 10/13/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
18. Blog tour: One Million Men and Me, featuring artist Peter Ambush

In celebration of the Million Man March 15-year anniversary, author Kelly Starling Lyons embarks on a two-week virtual tour, which will highlight her book ONE MILLION MEN and ME (Just Us Books). The tour includes interviews about the book, information about Kelly’s writing life, guest posts and many other surprises.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting the tour here on my blog with an interview of Peter Ambush, the illustrator for ONE MILLION MEN and ME.

Peter is an award-winning fine artist and illustrator. His portfolio includes artwork for newspapers, greeting cards, book jackets and children’s books. While I’m a fan of his commercial art, it’s his fine art – specifically his portraiture work -- that blows me away. They are simply stunning.

I’m honored to host this interview with Peter:

Don: The Million Man March came to symbolize unity, atonement and brotherhood among African American men. Can you talk about how these principles manifest in your own life?

Peter: Being

4 Comments on Blog tour: One Million Men and Me, featuring artist Peter Ambush, last added: 10/12/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
19. Burnt Orange almost burned me

This is an illustration I created for an article in the Statesman called Longhorns clothes, Cakes, Trivia and more. It represents the ultimate Texas football fan wearing his UT Snuggie, ball cap, H2Orange water bottle, burnt orange wall paint and foam hook 'em hand.

It's all good, but what happens when a non-sports person like me receives an assignment to create an image representing the religion of Texas Longhorn football? Well, mistakes can happen. My first attempt almost made the paper. And the mistake I made, I'm told, would have been a punishable crime.

Do you see what's wrong? Well, apparently displaying a Longhorn logo upside down is considered sacrilegious in Longhorn country. If the original illustration had run in the paper, I'd have been hailed a folk hero by University of Oklahoma fans, and I'd have been tar-and-feathered here in my own city.

Making the change caused me to miss the VCFA graduation party for Anne Bustard and Lindsey Lane, but at least I can now safely walk the streets of Austin.

4 Comments on Burnt Orange almost burned me, last added: 9/11/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
20. Making a picture book dummy for Duke

Recently I finished sketches for Duke, a picture book to publish with Charlesbridge. And if I can say so myself, they turned out very nice. I say that modestly. Yesterday, I made photocopies of my art, and made a dummy.

The author, Anna Celenza, brilliantly wrote the story in such a way that didn’t bind me to the text, as can happen sometimes with nonfiction. With this book I got to interpret the text however I saw it, within the confines of the subject matter, Duke Ellington and his creative process. I got to create just like the Duke!

This is the first time that I’ve made an actual physical picture book dummy. In the past, I’ve created flat layouts with photocopies of my art with galley text. Or I scanned my art into the computer and made dummies using a computer program like Quark or InDesign. The idea of building a picture book dummy with an Exacto knife and glue stick seemed tedious to me at most. A waste of time at least. But with Duke, I decided to give it a try. It was well worth my time.

As I hold the book in my hands and flip through the pages, I can see problems early on, problems that might otherwise have gone overlooked on a large layout with crop marks. With a trimmed and bound dummy, images that get swallowed in the gutter jump right out. And I've noticed a few other problems, things that might not have been noticed until staring at them in a book store.

Yesterday, armed with sketches, a ruler, and a proportion wheel, I completely staged an invasion of my local Kinkos (my own photo copier is near death). I spread out everywhere, which annoyed everyone around me competing for tabletop space. Because my sketches are so large, most of them required several scans which I pieced together when I got home.

13 Comments on Making a picture book dummy for Duke, last added: 9/24/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
21. She Loved Baseball ARCs arrived

Received an ARC (advance reader copy) for SHE LOVED BASEBALL: THE EFFA MANLEY STORY, a book I illustrated for HarperCollins. It will publish later this year, in October.

My editor, the art director and designers were meticulous with details and color reproduction. I've seen at least 5 color proofs of the cover over the past year, and I had to make several detail changes caught by copy editors (thank God for copy editors!). And I'm happy, the cover sings!— er, in the spirit of baseball, the cover hits a home run!

1 Comments on She Loved Baseball ARCs arrived, last added: 8/14/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
22. Graphic reporting: My other career.

I've been blogging about my children’s book career for nearly 6 years now. But I’ve rarely discussed my other career: Graphics reporting at the Statesman.

I spend just as much time illustrating and preparing graphics at the Statesman as I do illustrating for children’s publishers. And the Statesman pays better, too.

So, what in the heck is a graphic reporter, you ask? Simply put, a graphic reporter is one who tells and supports news stories with drawings — charts, maps, diagrams, illustrations. I draw for the newspaper!

Here I am today interviewing a couple of Austin police officers about their new in-car video surveillance system. As a graphic reporter, it’s my job to explain to readers, visually, what this system is and how police will use it.

In the photos, I’m taking notes and sketching as officers answers my questions. Am I nervous sitting there in the drivers seat of a cop car? Heck yes! But I play it cool, best as I can.
In the top photo, two reporters and I lob questions at the officers. After the interview, we return to the newsroom to brainstorm ideas on how to best present the graphic. In this case, it's decided that I’ll draw the pictures while Rob V. organizes and lays out the text with my drawings.

Here’s a look at the final graphic and a link to
3 Comments on Graphic reporting: My other career., last added: 7/24/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
23. Don and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Alexander doesn't have a thing on me. My day has been worse:

--Bought a car battery to install myself, but couldn't find my tools.
--Dug through the messy garage, found a wrench, but cable nuts were two different sizes.
--Searched unsuccessfully for a second wrench.
--Found an adjustable plumbing wrench, but stripped and ruined the nut.
--Found needle-nose pliers, which slipped on the stripped nut, hit metal against metal, sparked and shocked myself.
--My heart stopped. No, literally, for a second, I think it did.
--Decided to take the car to Goodyear, but the spark must have shorted out the electricity and my doors wouldn't open.
--Gave up. Called road service.
--In the meantime, I tried the key manually. The door opened, but it set off the alarm.
--Unable to shut off the alarm, I drove to Goodyear — two miles away — through traffic, with the alarm blaring. Dweeb.
--Left the car at Goodyear, walked two miles home.

Car will be ready in two hours, so I have to walk two miles back to get it because I have to be at work by 3 p.m. Sweaty.

7 Comments on Don and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, last added: 7/15/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
24. Around Our Way on Neighbors' Day.

Hey all, my colleague, Tameka Fryer Brown, at the Brown Bookshelf has a book coming out in little less than a month. It's called Around Our Way on Neighbors' Day. It will be released on August 1st, and has already received a nice review from Booklist.

Now here's the thing, in this economy, bookstores are reluctant to take a chance on stocking books by first-time authors (especially books that feature brown faces). So how does one get exposure? Well, as Tameka says, "It will take a 'movement on the ground.'"

Here's what you can do:

1. Purchased a copy of the book, RIGHT AWAY!

2. Call or visit your local independent bookstore, or chain bookstore (Borders, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, etc.) TODAY and tell them you'd like to purchase a copy.

3. Purchase online.

4. PASS ALONG this information. Blog, tweet, email, Facebook.

We must support each other.

0 Comments on Around Our Way on Neighbors' Day. as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
25. Some recent work. My varied styles.

2 Comments on Some recent work. My varied styles., last added: 6/23/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts