Joy Chu meets Miss Marple!


[
The following interview originally appeared in Joanna Marple’s fine children’s literature blog, Miss Marple’s Musings on Sept 2, 2015 — JC]

Source: Joy Chu – Illustrator Interview

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Photo by Roxyanne Young

I ‘met’ Joy a couple of years ago through her FB page Got Story and love her contributions to the kid lit community. She has been curating a fabulous exhibition in Southern California and it is open for another ten days, so I wanted to give people the heads up not to miss it. — Joanna Marple

[JM] Illustrator or author/illustrator? Or. . .
[JC] Graphic Designer, with an emphasis on illustrated books, with over 30 years experience in the book publishing industry. In addition, I’m also a children’s book illustration instructor, doing it both in person and on-line at UC San Diego Extension for the past 7 years.


[JM] Where are you from/have you lived and how has that influenced your work?
[JC] Born in NYC, raised in the Bronx. I still have residual NYC reactions to things I adore, and situations I find intolerable. Californians are far more even-tempered in contrast. I figure that’s why I’m passionate about what I do.


[JM] Tell us a little of your beginnings and journey as an artist.
[JC] There were three pivotal moments in my life. When my mom would encourage me to draw on paper — after discovering I had covered our apartment walls with crayon drawings, at age 3 — and she’d give lessons besides, alongside reading Golden Books aloud. We learned reading English together.

Soon after, my dad made sure I always had fresh blank notebooks plus plenty of pencils handy to draw up stories inspired by Life magazine, which I could never get enough of. Provocative details to pore over, plus many photographs to copy and sketch variations from.

Then there was the day I was issued my first library card at age 7, from the New York Public Library (NYPL). Pure magic! I could possess up to twelve beautiful books, at home for 4 whole weeks! It sparked my love for illustration. O the places those books transported me, outside of the south Bronx!

I became aware early on which publishers produced the books I loved most. Any Viking picture book I’d stumble upon was coveted. Harcourt Brace produced my favorite middle grade novels — they were all illustrated! As I progressed to wordier fare, I’d notice that some books even gave a history of its text font on the last page. I didn’t learn until much later that bookmaking would combine my love of art, design, and story into a single career.


[JM] Do you have a preferred medium to work in?
[JC] I still love drawing. Good drawing is the foundation for learning how to see. I had every intention of becoming a children’s book illustrator. After college, I was hired as a design trainee at the adult trade division of Alfred A. Knopf, mentored by the legendary art director Betty Anderson. Knopf has a reputation for quality literature and good bookmaking. I was hooked on typography, layout, and the craft of book design ever since. I loved working with artists. I also grew to love working on a Mac. More magic!


[JM] Joy Chu Designs is a multi-disciplinary design studio. What does that entail?
[JC] I design books of all genres. I art-direct and style all manner of photo shoots. I create websites and videos, and designed campaigns and graphics that invariably tell a story. I also coach artists one-on-one, or in groups, helping them to identify the path of least resistance. That is, what comes naturally, and to pursue it passionately. It all involves story, one way or another.


[JM] Tell us a little about Got Story?
[JC] It began several years ago as a public Facebook page, for my UC San Diego Extension students. Extension didn’t utilize on-line software then. I felt students needed a place to sustain the enthusiasm about picture book finds beyond our weekly classroom meetings.

Then some of my own Facebook friends — many of them colleagues in the book biz — would spot postings of their own favorites, and offer observations. Melanie Hope Greenberg liked it so much, she offered to participate in a Q and A exchange, which spun off into a blog [gotstorycountdown.wordpress.com], because we did it like a David Letterman-like “Top Ten” — with one question or topic per day, with the final question being number one.

I discovered that I much prefer the spontaneity of the Facebook format. Blogging takes way too long! That’s where it’s been ever since. Students can mingle with some of the best picture book practitioners in the business quickly and informally. Picture book people are a unique group of talented, big-heart folk. I love the field.


[JM] I know you are super busy curating a museum show for the CCA Escondido. The dates are July 11-Sept 13. Please tell us more about this.
[JC] Leah Goodwin of the California Center for the Arts knew there was a hot bed of published picture book creators in our southern region of California, and wanted to hold a show that highlighted children’s book illustration to the community at large. How would she get in touch with the right people? Janice Yuwiler, SCBWI San Diego Regional Advisor, immediately introduced us via Facebook!

Leah and her team are dynamic! Stella Karl has been a whirling dervish, corralling and organizing the mounting of all the works, coordinating the overall design layout and approach. We’ve reviewed color choices, typography, and content. Kirsten Vega orchestrated a Student Art Competition based upon the theme of the exhibition, telling a story with pictures. Winners will be on full view at a dedicated gallery, professionally displayed. I am blessed to be Guest Curator for such a world class venue!

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We will be showcasing over 50 artists and writers, displaying not only original art, but preliminary sketches, spreads from dummies, and thumbnail storyboards as case studies. Students of children’s picture books will have a blast, perusing the stories behind the making of the book.

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Rafael Lopez is one of our local treasures. He is lending us his original drawings — you can see decision-making on paper — from his latest work, Drum Dream Girl, (written by Margarita Engle) alongside his dreamy paintings. I’ve been a long time admirer of his work, and I feel he has produced his best work yet. A Caldecott contender!

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The sheer variety of art media alone is astounding. Lisa Brown is lending us gauze fabrics and stained papers she used as the textures throughout her Mummy Cat book (written by Marcus Ewert).

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Antoinette Portis shares her many scraps, pointing out where we can find them in her final art (from Wait). And Salina Yoon staged a re-creation of her art studio, with drawings hanging on walls, and on a small drawing table. Visitors will be able to sit in her chair!

We even have sneak previews of books not yet out. Enlarged graphics of characters from Marla Frazee’s upcoming book, Is Mommy? (words by poet Victoria Chang) due out November 2015 will be appear on walls lifesize, throughout the exhibition.

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Drawings from Salina Yoon’s upcoming January 2016 release, Be a Friend, will be revealed, along with its trailer, an exclusive!

Other marvelous book trailers by our exhibitors will be shown on a large screen, in a continual loop, in an adjoining gallery. So inspirational, all of it.

Please visit! More about it here: http://artcenter.org/museum. Check out the list of books featured here: http://artcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/Books-featured-in-the-exhibition2.pdf


[JM] What artwork do you have hanging in your house?
[JC] I hang very little, actually. Except for reminder Post-its and To-Do Lists. My walls are all painted in bright colors though! Everyone always remarks on them when they visit.


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Five Fun Ones to Finish?


[JM] What’s your favorite park (state/urban..) in the world?

[JC] I have several! So far, I’d say Central Park (NYC); Golden Gate Park and the Presidio (S.F.); Stanley Park (Vancouver, BC); Victoria Peak Garden (Causeway Bay, Hong Kong); the California side of Lake Tahoe during the summer months.


[JM] Cats or dogs?
[JC] I. LOVE. CATS.


[JM] What word best sums you up?
[JC] Joyful


[JM] Fact that most people don’t know about you?
[JC] I’m fascinated by Scotties (aka Aberdeen Terriers).


[JM] Go to snack/drink to sustain your creative juices?
[JC] Fresh brewed green tea. Enjoyed with a small square of dark chocolate, 50% cacao, nibbled slowly. Sheer heaven.

Plan B: A huge, juicy, freshly-peeled naval orange.


Helen Foster James (co-author with Virginia Loh Hagan) next to oil paintings and sketches from their book

Helen Foster James, co-author of Paper Son (with Virginia Loh-Hagan), stands alongside Wilson Ong’s paintings from their book.

Links:
Facebook/Got Story?: https://www.facebook.com/groups/gotstory/

Joy’s Got Story Blog: https://gotstorycountdown.wordpress.com/

at UC San Diego Extension:
http://extension.ucsd.edu/about/index.cfmvAction=instructorBio&personid=225826

An interview:
https://ucsandiegoextension.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/dreaming-up-childrens-books-an-interview-with-artistillustrator-joy-chu/

Twitter: @JoyC_sez

 Thanks so much for sharing a little of your journey with us and I hope the final days of the exhibition sparkle!—Joanna Marple

 

The Book Trailer is UP!

Drum roll, please: Here’s the official book trailer for The Gallaudet Children’s Dictionary of American Sign Language. It features the 12 children plus 4 adults who sign all 1,000+ words, with 150 bonus sentences.

Look for the lenticular on the cover:

This may be the first book cover that actually teaches how to letterspell

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

The Gallaudet Children’s Dictionary of American Sign Language

Reviews

From the University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries, 25th Edition

2015 “Best of the Best”

This is a wonderful dictionary for children and really fills a need. It is great for hearing children to learn to sign and helps deaf children expand their vocabulary. A DVD with native signers is included to show each sign, plus sentences they may be used in. A great addition for any library.
—Hilary Albert (RUSA/CODES*), Mahopac Public Library, Mahopac, NY

This is the most comprehensive American Sign Language dictionary for children to date. The book includes more than 1,000 signs and a searchable DVD. It has adorable illustrations in black-and-white line drawings, and the hands and forearms are in bold, humor galore! Synonym words are listed directly under many entries. This helps the learner improve their vocabulary. It has clear drawings of how to sign in American Sign Language, plus the words and English sentences to fit the illustrations. This book is a must for any ASL learning/signing homes.
—Teri Maggio, Chairperson, RUSA/CODES* Reviewers
Director, Assumption Parish Library, Napoleonville, Louisiana

This outstanding title deserves a place on the shelf of every school and public library. Designed for use by children ages 5 and up, this title will facilitate sign language learning for deaf and hearing children and adults. The entries are arranged alphabetically by English words and colorful, entertaining illustrations accompany each word to demonstrate the concept associated with the word. The signing instructions are done as black and white line drawings with bold lines added to illustrate handshape, movement, location, palm orientation and nonmanual signals. The DVD bound with the dictionary is equally useful since it includes live-action of children signing each word and videos of adults signing 150 sentences.
—Judi Repman (AASL*), Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA

——

(Retired)*American Association of School Librarians (AASL)
*Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)
*Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES)

__________

School Library Journal

This long-anticipated and colorfully designed reference work is the first comprehensive American Sign Language dictionary for children published to date. It boasts more than 1,000 signs and includes a searchable DVD, which features young native signers demonstrating each sign and 150 of the practice sentences. Highly recommended.

From Booklist

This new American Sign Language (ASL) dictionary for children is published by Gallaudet University, one of the leading universities for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Aimed at emerging readers, this dictionary uses cute color illustrations for the signs and easy-to-read definitions for more than 1,000 words. What sets this dictionary apart from other books on ASL for children is the accompanying DVD, which shows children signing each of the words in the dictionary. Some of the words are also included in sentences, which are signed by adults. Watching the words being signed by someone will likely help those who might be confused by the directional arrows in the illustrations. The DVD, which is easily navigable on a variety of devices, shows a multicultural, diverse group of individuals, emphasizing that anyone could be deaf. This dictionary will help deaf children broaden their vocabulary, as well as teach hearing children how to sign.

From ASL Reviewer, NetGalley ★★★★★

The Gallaudet Children’s Dictionary of American Sign Language is a wonderful resource for beginning ASL users. The art work is engaging and the diagrams easily understood. The usage sentences for each word humorously connect the artwork together with usage and definition. I learned some basic ASL in my late 30’s after becoming friends with a deaf man. I even took classes to improve my communication skills. Unfortunately, I never excelled at ASL and regret not having learned at an earlier age. When my daughter was in first grade she was required to have a children’s dictionary. It was designed similarly but not nearly as interesting as The Gallaudet Children’s Dictionary with the artwork being less engaging. In third grade she fell in love with ASL because she had a teacher that sprinkled her lessons with ASL. A starter dictionary such as this would have fostered that love at an even earlier age. This dictionary would have been a perfect introduction to both the English and ASL Languages. Personally, I would love to see this dictionary be the standard in all beginners classrooms. If this dictionary was used in all beginner class rooms the language/communication barrier that many deaf face would be reduced greatly. Children love activity and I feel that learning words in this fashion, coupling them with sign, would only reinforce the rudimentary understanding and use of language.

On Eyes, Portfolios and Postcards

Joy Chu:

On the eve of SCBWI-San Diego’s E.B. Lewis get-together, I thought it would be timely to re-post this tickler of tips. It’s dedicated to those of you who may be sharing portfolios there — or somewhere else out there! Cheers! — Joy

Originally posted on got story countdown:

Before I begin on the above-mentioned topic, I must share a forthcoming book that caught my eye on the ALA Exhibit floor.  It  made such an impression, I went back to savor the f & g’s(folded and gathered unbound page signatures, in publisher parlance), page-by-page, at three separate intervals.

It’s all in the eyes. They are wide-open and clearly shaped. And I love how those large eyes complement and balance the graphic shapes in all of  Christian Robinson‘s illustrations.

He makes his picture book debut in Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills  (October 2012 from Random House).

Florence Mills was a celebrated African-American jazz singer, dancer and comedian (1896-1927). A major figure of the Harlem Renaissance, she was known for her stage presence and wide-eyed beauty. Her  talents were immortalized via songs by Duke Ellington and Fats Waller. photo of Florence Mills, "the Queen of Happiness"

During…

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Start 2015 with Classes and Creatures!

Here’s two items to top your 2015 New Year’s Gift-to-Self List:

1. Take my on-line class Children’s Book Illustration: Thinking in Pictures, via UCSD Extension. You can take it as part of the newly-created Certificate Program in Children’s Book Illustration. Or as a self-development work-out. Or as a hands-on means to explore the world of children’s picture books. You’ll read 8 new books a week, and progressively create 8-page, 16-page, 24-page, and 32-page stories by the end of the course. And you’ll meet colleagues who love story, from all over the world.

Registration is open now!
Dates: January 7-March 15, 2015
Register here: UCSD Extension / Art 40634 – 3 credits

Here’s a video about the Certificate Program itself:

KCWbadge2.  Create a creature, and share it online during KidLit Creature Week. You’ll see many familiar names submitting theirs! Complete instructions can be found here.  I will be rolling up my sleeves to draw one up . . . and so will my students! Roar!

Here’s one from my pal, Debbie Tilley

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Going, Going, Gone…

. . . but it won’t be forgotten!

There’s so much to savor from The Original Art Exhibition: The Fine Art of Children’s Book Illustration, as it winds up its stay in Carlsbad, CA.

To recap, here are more trailers from the participating artists in the Show:








For me, the highlight was being able to hold up the actual book page, and compare it alongside its original. I will share some observations in future posts. Seeing them side-by-side provided meditations on the wide spectrum of art media possible, coupled with the reality of CMYK print — it’s all good stuff!

See more trailers here

Hurry and visit NOW, before the 23 of November!

The William Cannon Art Gallery is part of the Carlsbad City Library Complex. Its entrance is on the right side of the courtyard, beyond these archways.

That’s me, giving my UCSD students — past and present — a private tour of the Original Art Show at Cannon Art Gallery. I’m pointing out aspects of Carolyn Fisher’s illustration work from Weeds Find A Way by Cindy Jenson-Elliott. photo by Denise Harbison

Why? Because after November 23, 2014 , the traveling exhibit, The Original Art 2013 at the Cannon Art Gallery, in Carlsbad CA will close!

David Diaz checking out the artistry on display at The Original Art

David Diaz checking out the artistry on display at The Original Art
photo by Roxyanne Young

Don’t miss this exhibit! You’ll encounter 40 examples of the best-illustrated books of 2013, from the most talented in the field.

A highlight is the inclusion of published illustrators who happen to live in San Diego and Los Angeles, including Salina Yoon, Debbie Tilley, Andrea Zimmerman & David Clemesha, David Diaz, Janell Cannon, and Robin Preiss Glasser, to name just a few!

Salina Yoon beside her original work from Penguin and Pinecone and Found!  photo by Roxyanne Young

Salina Yoon beside her original work from Penguin and Pinecone and Found!
photo by Roxyanne Young

There’s a dedicated reading corner where you can sit and peruse the books each piece is culled from. Many of the originals include drawings, paintings, prints, etchings, and collagesa rare opportunity to fully appreciate the diversity of creativity applied to these works. Gallery curator Karen McGuire even adhered post-its to corresponding pages of each book, so that visitors can compare the printed result to its original, up-close!

Book trailers are played on a continual loop above the reading corner of the Gallery. photo by Joy Chu

There’s also a video featuring 19 trailers highlighting selected artists on display, broadcast throughout the duration of the exhibit. Don’t miss it — it’s at the reading corner! Here are just a few of the trailers you’d encounter.






IDEA: It’s not too early to order picture books for holiday gift giving! Give everyone you love a children’s picture book. It’s a bazillion times more enduring than a mere Christmas card! There’s something for everyone.

Like this one (below). Yes, Renata Liwska‘s original work is on display at The Cannon Art Gallery too!

Check out the work of Renata, and her multi-talented illustrator colleagues, at the Cannon Art Gallery, before it becomes yet another happy memory.

1775 Dove Lane
Carlsbad, CA 92011
(760) 602-202
Hours
Tuesday – Thursday: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
CLOSED MONDAYS

Illustration by Renata Lewiska; text by Nina Laden

On the Road to Creating Story!

What Makes Your Characters “Tick”?

Let’s look at the beginning of a picture book story.

The initial step is introducing your main character. Can you tell us what he/she is thinking?

What is their prime directive? What motivates them? What problem are they confronting in your story?

I love sharing this series of spreads created by  graphic design pioneer Bruno Munari — an Italian Paul Rand — who loved children’s picture books.  This is from his book The Elephant’s Wish.

Here’s Elephant, who wishes he could be as carefree as a bird…

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Bird wishes he could swim. Can you guess why?

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Snake wishes he could graze majestically like a bull . . .

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Bull wishes he could be like the elephant. Why? Then he could swish away those pesky flies! We come full circle by the end of the book.

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Artist Laurent Moreau contemplates himself!

 

 

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By Laurent Moreau. A girl dreams of being by the sea

Here’s the cover, which hints at the animals’ thoughts, while intriguing us with an unusual graphic.

 

 

 

 

Check out how Laurent Moreau lets us in on his characters’ thoughts:

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The cover from “What Are You Thinking?” by Laurent Moreau

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Ah, a play on line textures and far away thoughts by Laurent Moreau…

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This woman is full of jealous thoughts. By Laurent Moreau

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What a little girl in costume imagines, by Laurent Moreau

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Laurent-Moreau

What an absorbing story! Could she be lost into it? By Laurent Moreau

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Subconscious memories from a famous
folk tale, by Laurent Moreau

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What a boy thinks
by Laurent Moreau

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What one young woman
pines for, by Laurent Moreau

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It’s all math to some people!

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What a beautiful mind!

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A nature lover!

This is a fabulous way to explore your own story characters. Express what they are thinking, in collage! Check out these results.

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This one is by Marcia Sorini,
an elementary school teacher (see part 2, below)

 

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Check out what other students have created here!

 

 

Spelling and Counting in ASL…

Here’s Travis and Tian Brown, with their dad, sharing a counting moment…

Here’s a cross-reference guide, from The Gallaudet Children’s Dictionary of American Sign Language (click on either image to enlarge)

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DictionaryFM_2-column_18June2014_Page_12

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
Shop Indie Bookstores

Asynchronicity!

Asynchronistic_DebbieTilley_SM

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.