Category Archives: Countdown Corner

Stop the Presses…and START HERE!

This may be the first book cover that actually teaches how to letterspell "A B C"  in American Sign Language!

This may be the first book cover that actually teaches how to letterspell “A B C” in American Sign Language! (click to enlarge)

Let’s start with unveiling the cover itself. It features a lenticular!

And it’s going on press this month! I’m so excited!

Why? Because it all began as a list of words on a spread sheet almost five years ago.

The dictionary began as a Word doc, which grew into an Excel spreadsheet. (right-click to enlarge)

Gallaudet University Press lined up a team of illustrators for their upcoming definitive American Sign Language reference (think Merriam-Webster, but for signing), aimed at the pre-school through grade 3 level. It had to be usable for hearing families as well as the deaf and hearing-impaired.

Page 1 from the Dictionary

Page 1 from the Dictionary (click on any image to enlarge)

 

One of the illustrators already on board was Debbie Tilley. When agent Richard Salzman discovered it was (a) Gallaudet first foray into children’s books and general trade; and (b) they expected Debbie to produce the layouts too, he recommended they contact me to pull it all together for them. It was a dream project for all of us!

Dictionary_p-105_Page_011   Dictionary_p-105_Page_008 Dictionary_p-105_Page_007

 392 pages of full color! It looks like a graphic comic, with over 1,000 word entries, fully illustrated. Plus it includes a DVD featuring a rainbow of children signing. There’s also a special feature on forming sentences.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll guide you on the process. It will be like a diary on the making of a children’s reference classic. . .

Spread from pages 238-239

Spread from pages 238-239 (click to enlarge)

You will witness exclusive behind-the-scenes book making. Stay tuned. That’s why I’ve been away for so long. Been dictionary-ing…

You can pre-order the Dictionary through these links:
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble

 

Asynchronicity!

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I received the following question recently: “I’m interested in your online CB illustrators course at UCSD, but can’t find the link. Can you please post it again? Also, I travel overseas a lot for work. Would that preclude me from taking the online course, i.e., are the classroom times synchronistic or can you work at your own pace? Many thanks!! [from Linda Benson]

Great question! You can take the class at your own pace. It’s a 9-week course, with a new exercise/assignment given at the start of each week. You post completed exercises online, to share with classmates, at the end of each week. And you can post questions at the Class Discussion Board anytime, too. It’s an asynchronous class

For more info, go here.
Register anytime, 24/7, here.

Drawing Warm-ups: I do it with Ed Emberley’s help!

Emberley-FROG

It’s about seeing common shapes differently. Like D.Frog

It's Sasquatch!

It’s Sasquatch!

Every new class I teach is like embarking upon a new adventure mind trip.

It’s good to re-visit familiar terrain from a wholly different angle. Here, I do it upside-down, sideways, anyway-but-regular. I see it as the ultimate brain synapse challenge. Like quickie sit-ups, with a lilt!

For instance, I love drawing from Emberley.  In each of the following, we start with the letter D, step-by-step. . . but holding the book itself upside down.

This is the way to see PURE SHAPE. Forget about the end result entirely.

Fact: Guess who has the hardest time doing the above — from all the people who’ve taken my illustration class — the artists, or the writers? The seasoned artists. Not all of them, but just a few. Why? It’s unfamiliar, not envisioning the end-result. These renegades then discover they are falling back into old patterns of drawing, unwilling to try something new. I remind them that this is the way to venture into new terrain. To discover new possibilities in drawing. How letting go of certain drawing habits will set them free. And when they allow it to happen, they smile. Inevitably.

Try any of the following. Bonus:  If you render these, purely as shape, you can do them in ANY size, from tiny to titanic — no sizing tools needed!


A turtle...

A turtle…

Then notice how these same shapes re-occur in everything around you. . . .

A mouse. . .

A mouse. . .

Or a porcupine

Or a porcupine



These images are progressive drawings from Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals, © 1970 by Edward R. Emberley, animated as .GIFs . This book is the required textbook at my UCSD Extension class, Illustrating Books for Children. I think everyone needs this book in their lives. Follow each step. Watch it change the way you see your world.

http://www.amazon.com/Ed-Emberleys-Drawing-Book-Animals/dp/0316789798/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388183051&sr=1-2&keywords=ed+emberley+drawing+books

Countdown to Highlights!

So excited. I’m taking part in the Ultimate Walden Pond Experience at the Advanced Illustrators Workshop at the Highlights Foundation, August 28-September 2nd.

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Been brainstorming with the amazing Cindy Smith on the illustration exercises (I call them Guerrilla Work-outs) I will lead on-site. I sent my proposal to Cindy, and within minutes, she shoots back “WONDERFUL.” She’s my soul sister.

I’m blessed. Look at the illustrators I’m accompanying: E.B. Lewis and Matt Tavares. . .

Lewis_and_Tavares

Here’s Matt …

and E.B. in action…

and here I am.

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But before the immersion begins, conferees are treated to an insider peek at the inner workings of Highlights Magazine and Boyds Mills Press. Here’s editor Linda Rose, specifying what gets published in Highlights. She’s looking for full color visual ideas via their picture puzzler feature. Hey you editorial illustrators, here’s an opportunity! Every submission to this feature will be considered. Think visual witticism. Tell Linda you heard it here…

More tomorrow.

Linda_Highlights

On Inspirations and My Upcoming Class…

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Greetings! If you live, work, or are vacationing this summer in the San Diego area, consider creating stories with pictures at my class, on the beautiful campus of UCSD in La Jolla!

Illustrating Books for Children
Instructor:  Joy Chu
June 26-August 21
Wednesday evenings, 6:30pm-9:30pm
extension.ucsd.edu
Register before June 25!
 
A section of UCSD campus at night
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Inspiration is Everywhere!

During last winter’s 2013 class at UCSD Extension, I asked my students to locate the CIP book summary from any picture book, and use it as the inspiration for an eight-panel wordless picture story.

CIP (pronouncedsip”) is book publishing jargon for the Library of Congress Publishing Cataloging-in-Publication Data. This is found within the copyright page text of every book. It features a well-constructed one-phrase synopsis of the book’s theme.

homework_sabatage

Here is an example. One student, Aijung Kim, selected the following CIP summary from Chalk by Bill Thompson. While she didn’t read the book, she knew from its cover that it featured a dinosaur. She transported her setting to a beach…

Book Summary:  A wordless picture book about three children who go to a park on a rainy day, find some chalk, and draw pictures that come to life.

Here’s what she came up with:

Aijung Kim’s 8-panel wordless story, created during Joy Chu’s class, Illustrating Books for Children, at UCSD Extension (right-click image to enlarge)

Another student, Fnu Anisi, enchanted by Kevin HenkesKitten’s First Full Moon, wanted to explore an eight page wordless re-telling.

Book summary:  When Kitten mistakes the full moon for a bowl of milk, she ends up tired, wet, and hungry trying to reach it.

Here are Anisi’s results:

(Right-click to enlarge)

Fnu Anisi’s 8-page wordless story, created at Joy Chu’s UCSD Extension class (Right-click to enlarge)

At my upcoming summer 2013 UCSD Extension class (June 26-August 21), Illustrating Books for Children (ART 40011) we might look into creating an advent-styled calendar as a possible inspiration for creating a picture story.

Example: Look at the one Zachariah OHora created from his own story. Fun, yes?

Many thanks to Zachariah OHora and Julie Danielson for sharing the above image.

Creating a 3D model for your story setting can also serve as an invaluable reference in plotting out your narrative, as well as a guide in drawing scenes from a variety of perspectives. Note how illustrator Sophie Blackall created a diorama for her work-in-progress. She can view her characters from above!

(photo © PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved)

Author/illustrator Barbara McClintock builds cut-paper replicas of her illustrations, in composing her scenes. The following sequence is from her studies for an upcoming book, Adèle and Simon in China (all 3 photos below © Barbara McClintock)

"What do those little flat boats in photos of Tongli really look like? I have to find out by building one."—Barbara McClintock

“What do those little flat boats in photos of Tongli really look like? I have to find out by building one.”—Barbara McClintock

"...Now I can draw the boats in the picture and feel some sense of confidence in what I'm doing/seeing..."

“…Now I can draw the boats in the picture and feel some sense of confidence in what I’m doing/seeing…”

Tongli, China, circa 1908, as drawn by Barbara McClintock

Tongli, China, circa 1908, as drawn by Barbara McClintock

Here’s Tove Jansson, creating reference models for her fabulous Moomin stories.

MOOMIN_collage


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Illustrating Books for Children / Art 40011
Instructor:  Joy Chu
June 26-August 21
Wednesdays, 6:30pm-9:30pm
extension.ucsd.edu

Register before June 25!

illustration by Debbie Tilley

 

From On-Line to HANDS-ON: Let’s Draw Stories!

Register NOW for Joy Chu's hands-on workshop, Illustrating Books for Children, Wednesday evenings 6:30-9:30pm, 6/28-8/21/13, extension.ucsd.edu, ART 40011. Immerse yourself!

Exercise your art chops!

Summer Solstice! What could be better after a full day’s work (or sunning & surfing — hey, we’re in San Diego!), or sight-seeing around San Diego, than hunkering down, and drawing pictures with other passionate story-tellers?

We’ll do hands-on drawing-and-sharing, in class, in person, at the beautiful UCSD Extension campus in La Jolla, CA. Examine the latest picture books, plus a few timeless classics. And address aspects of the current children’s book market.


Join us!

Class:        Children’s Book Illustration – ART-40011
Instructor:  Joy Chu
Dates:       June 26 – August 21  (9 meetings)
Day:           Wednesdays
Time:         6:30pm – 9:30pm
Location:  Extension, Room 128


Required books: 

Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books (paperback) :: Uri Shulevitz   ISBN: 9780823059355

Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals (paperback)
:: Ed Emberley   ISBN: 9780316789790

kitcat_SM

Don’t delay, sign up today!
Purchase textbooks @ UCSD Bookstore,
or at amazon.com

extension.ucsd.edu.  Register now.
Ask about ART 40011

Fee:  $250 / $275 after 6/10/13


When you write, and someone else draws…

It’s a unique opportunity when an illustrator can also write stories that other artists can render. This happened to Don Tate when he wrote It Jes’ Happened, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.

Check out this excellent discussion between Anne Rockwell and Don Tate, at Anne’s site.

“…While I could have illustrated the story, my illustration styles weren’t the perfect match for the text. My editor wanted the art to be edgy, gritty. I wanted to go with an illustrator who had broader name recognition than myself. Greg Christie became one of our top choices.”—Don Tate

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Original art by Bill Traylor

Remember this if you encounter a book editor who loves your story, but suggests that another illustrator provide the art. Don’t insist on all (doing both story and pictures) or nothing.

If a publisher is seriously interested in acquiring one component, make sure to ask why. Decisions like these are made for the good of the project.

Art from

From “It Jes’ Happened” by Greg Christie right-click to enlarge

Editors want your book to sell as many copies as possible. One practical consideration is name recognition. Newcomers tend to forget that buyers invariably prefer to request a familiar name or brand, even in bookstores or libraries. Or just the books with the medals on their jackets. Publishers also need to see how your name fares out there initially, in the mutual interest of nurturing a new career for the long term.

Hot Tip

Use Post-Its for your thumbnail storyboards

Art_of_Rain_6

Check out Christian Robinson‘s method, and get a behind-the-scenes peek into his upcoming book Rain, written by Linda Ashman here.

The Next Big Thing

. . . comes in threes !

[1]  Blog hop* time!

It’s been awhile since my last post.  I’ve been deeply immersed in the world of online learning & teaching, at UCSD Extension. What an adrenaline rush!

illustration by Debbie TilleyI will share highlights (my students were awesome) next week. Alumni & friends will be invited to comment. In the meantime…

[2] I was tagged …

Slithery Snakes by Roxie Munroby the amazeing Roxie Munro , who shares links on creating apps for books at my public Got Story? Facebook page.  Her books are a maze of dazzling fact-filled wonders. Besides creating e-books, she takes you inside and outside of cities, events, and creatures (eggs, bugs, and snakes, oh my), and much more. Do check out Roxie’s blog-hop responses here.

* What is a blog-hop? An author is tagged to answer a set of questions at their own blog. They then tag two other authors with blogs, to keep the blog-hop going.

the-next-big-thing-300x234

I think I’m the first blogger/art director/book designer/teacher who’s ever blog-hopped this event! Here goes:
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1. What is the title of your work-in-progress? The Gallaudet American Sign Language Dictionary for Children  [as art director/designer, and production artist, that is].

2. Where did the idea come from?  *Gallaudet University Press editor Ivey Wallace.

[* Note: Based in Washington DC, Gallaudet University is the only institution of higher learning whose programs and services are customized to accommodate deaf and hearing-impaired students. Thomas Gallaudet (1787–1851) was a pioneering figure in the advancement of deaf education.]
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Illustration for ASL word entry, T.V.
[ASL sign for TV, by Debbie Tilley (l) and Peggy Lott (r)]
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Debbie Tilley was selected because her witty illustrations communicate well to children and adults. Debbie’s agent Richard Salzman recommended my services as a free-lance designer who’s fluent working with artists and editors; and in the prep of layouts and electronic files for print and other media.

ASL entry for twins

ASL entry for twins

3. What genre does your book come under? Children’s illustrated /Ages 3-11 / reference / American Sign Language / parenting / instructional / school / general trade

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?  A wide spectrum of fluent multicultural ASL signing children, ages 4 through 11, will be in the accompanying DVD. A joyous group!

5. One sentence synopsis for your book? A kid-friendly definitive children’s American Sign Language dictionary with companion DVD, of over 1,000 entries, humorously illustrated by Debbie (Hey Little Ant!) Tilley alongside easy-to-follow signing diagrams by an unparalleled team of ASL experts.

Tilley_girl-dad.jpg

6. Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
Due out Fall 2014, from Gallaudet University Press.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Debbie, the signing illustration team, and I were supplied with the final word list in December 2010. We’ve all bAaeen collaborating steadily since then. That’s over 1,000 illustrations from Debbie; and 1,000+ diagrams from the signing team. Sketches, approval process, revisions, final art, organizing, scanning, etc. Sentences are composed as layouts are formed.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? There’s none like it. Anywhere.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? The Gallaudet University Board of Directors made this project part of their mandate. The jewel of the crown.

10.What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? In addition to instructors, students, and users, parents will want to teach ASL to their babies, who are often able to sign before they can talk! Imagine that. Real-life ASL, and it’s from Gallaudet, the go-to source!

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And now, I’m blog-tagging three friends. Visit their blogs for…

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[3] Tag 1, 2, 3…

My colleague Andrea Zimmerman [1] teaches the writing aspect of picture book creation at UCSD Extension  [Writing Children’s Picture Books (WCWP-40261)] with Sara Tomp. Check out her fabulous blog, Picture Book Party here. She is both an author and author/illustrator. Among her many titles are Train Man (with David Clemesha); Eliza’s Cherry Trees; and Trashy Town (illustrated by Dan Yaccarino).

Julian Hector [2] draws and writes stories in his inimitable way. Visit his blog here. Check out C.R. Curmudgeon (written by Leslie Muir); Monday is One Day (written by Arthur Levine); The Little Matador; and The Gentleman Bug. Here’s the trailer for his 10 Scary Animals: A Field Guide.

Kathleen Krull [3] roots out the most interesting aspects of a person’s life, and distills it into snappy delightful prose. Let’s peek at her über-awesome output:

KKrull_Facebook_cover

I knew her back in the days of Harcourt, San Diego (she was Senior Editor, I was Art Director), where she edited luminaries like Tomie dePaola, Eve Bunting, Patricia Hermes, Anne Lindbergh, Jane Yolen, and Amy Schwartz, before she left to launch her own writing career.

She also collaborates with husband Paul Brewer on projects — including The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny), and Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country). In 2011, she won the Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award for her body of work.

NOTE: Since Kathy uses her Facebook page in lieu of a blog as of this writing, her Q & As (and tagging) will happen here at the Got Story Countdown. Watch for announcements, and spread the word. . . 

One Artist’s Dummy Exercises

Illustrator Denise Hilton Campbell was among the participants at my UCSD Extension class, “Illustrating Books for Children” last Spring.

http://www.workbook.com/static/artist/3286/thumbs_large/07008113871736617070.jpg

She has an extensive portfolio of published works for advertising and print.

While she and I had worked together (I as art director/designer at Harcourt; she as illustrator) on several book jackets, she had never tackled the children’s picture book genre.

While Denise’s preferred medium is watercolor . . .

DeniseCampbell2x

. . . she also possesses superb drawing skills.

On her illustration blog, she chronicles her explorations into book dummying. Some highlights:

“… I didn’t give much thought about the fact that there was a process involved in writing and illustrating a good picture book. I thought you just drew 32 pretty illustrations and threw in some words! That all changed with the class and now I’m hooked. . . this is an example from [the] simple 8-page dummy. . .” — Denise Campbell

Campbell-16

“. . . [on to] a 16-page dummy. . .”— DC

“. . . You get the idea…[the 8-page and 16-page dummies] were both wordless stories. An exercise in telling a story without using words as crutches. Finally we tackled the 32-page dummy (above). . . “— DC

You can follow Denise’s own picture story on her process in creating her class assignment sketches, here.

And check out the many finished pieces she produced post-class here. A sampling of her progressive experiments with one double-page spread from the above mentioned 32-page dummy follows, below . . .

rs_irestmylegsirml_red3irml_yellow1irml_blue1

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Holiday Tip:  Gift your favorite creative person with an Art Class!

Course title:  Illustrating Books for Children (ART 40011)
Instructor:  Joy Chu
Dates: January 7th – March 9th, 2013 (nine weeks)
Fees: $275  [early bird special: $250 if enrolled by 10 Dec 2012]
To register: 858-964-1051; ucsd.extension.edu

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