Speaking of juggling work schedules, please tell us about your recent activities and upcoming events.
Melanie Hope Greenberg: I have much on my plate. I recently participated in a few auctions such as Ripple, and the 826LA. I’m donating art for the 2011 Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund raffle. There are readings and signings at The Brooklyn Book Festival, DUMBO Arts Festival, and the Atlantic Antic. I’m also in the “Drawn In Brooklyn” opening at the Brooklyn Central Library from September 21, 2010 through January 23, 2011. It’s a festival and exhibition of children’s book art, curated by John Bemelmans Marciano, author/illustrator; and grandson of Ludwig Bemelmans, author of “Madeline.” The exhibition features the work of over 30 illustrators who live and work in Brooklyn, from the most exciting newcomers in publishing to the legends of the business. The exhibition showcases over a hundred pieces of art
Drawn in Brooklyn: http://www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/events/culturearts/
ET: One last question! I always wonder what illustrators do with their original book illustrations after the book is printed- I know some of yours are used for exhibits like the upcoming one at the Brooklyn Public Library, but what about the rest? After 16 books- that’s a lot of art! 🙂
MHG: That’s a lot of art is right! I have almost all the art here in my tiny studio. Not willing to sell them yet. With all the new technology and getting my rights back with books that go OP the art might just be needed again. Am I being crazy?
JC @ Melanie: You might consider having all of your art scanned professionally, and archive them for future accessibility.
There is also the possibility of obtaining a duplicate set of the high-resolution scans that were used to create your most recent books. Your publisher’s production manager or art director will know exactly how to make such arrangements, as their department is responsible for ordering reprints of your books. You might need to bring them a box of donuts 😉
JC @ Erin: That’s one of the bonuses of creating art for picture books: The artist winds up with enough art for his/her own art exhibit! It’s all there — consistent style, a theme, and — best of all — books to sell alongside the show!
JC @ Everyone: it should be pointed out that when art is created for picture books, the publisher is purchasing the right to reproduce them for said book.
In other words, they do not own the artwork itself. It’s not work-for-hire. The artist retains the work itself. They can sell the artwork, or use it to raise funding for literacy events.
And how fortunate are the people who purchase and own an original signed piece from a children’s book illustrator. They can gaze at it anytime, and think story!
ET: I hope I can get to the Eric Carle Museum someday. I think it’s great that he made a place where the public can enjoy original art from today’s illustrators like Lisbeth Zwerger and Kadir Nelson as well as masters like Leo Lionni and Virginia Lee Burton (so sad I missed that one!). And I wonder sometimes about illustrators like Maurice Sendak. I don’t know how many books he’s done but the art could probably fill a museum. Where does he keep it all?! And I guess I always thought that even if books went out of print the publisher kept some kind of printing proofs in case they would want to reprint.
MHG: I also want to point out the Mazza Museum of International Picture Book Art in Findlay, Ohio. That is where I met Anne Rockwell and Chris Demarest. Please keep in mind that 80% of the population in the industry are women and 80% of picture books are painted by men. Let’s let children grow up knowing that women become great artists too. Let’s not leave them off of our favorites lists. You have a good mix there, Erin! Brava!
JC: @ Erin: When a book is officially out-of-print, that’s it! That publisher is done. The reality is the publisher will simply move on to other matters. Too many other books to oversee. That’s why it’s prudent for the artist to scoop up reproduction rights if their work goes out-of-print (OOP), or it can be totally forgotten. It’s also possible that another publisher could purchase those rights, and give that same book a renewed life.
JC: @ Melanie: Speaking of the Eric Carle Museum, isn’t there a page dedicated to your work at their website? How did that happen?
ET: I didn’t know there was a children’s art museum in Ohio. That’s good to know! When I was at the conference last winter there were over a thousand people, 800 of them were woman in a field is dominated by men. At my lunch table, there was a discussion about why that is. I’m very inspired by women illustrators. My favorite artist is Mary Blair. She did a lot of concept art for Disney (also dominated by men), designed the Small World ride, and did children’s book like I Can Fly. She’s not as well known as others but oh- her work is stunning.
ET: @ Joy- the reprint issue makes me think of the M. Sasek “This Is…” series from the 60’s that has been reprinted recently. Sasek died in 1980, left no heir, and nobody knows who owns the copyright to the series. The royalties are being held in a fund until they can figure it out. And I don’t know how they found all the original work to reprint 18 books, but I’m grateful to whoever did!
MHG: Joy, Yes there is a webpage with my books at the Eric Carle Museum 🙂 http://www.carlemuseum.org/Shop/Books/Autographed_Books/Melanie_Hope_Greenberg List to over 100 online links about my books, author visits, events, awards, exhibitions, and more. A visual way to see what my world is about: http://mermaidsonparade.blogspot.com/2010/08/melanies-list-of-links.html
Denise Hilton Campbell: Thank you, Melanie and Joy, for this discussion! It’s been enlightening and validating and I look forward to many more!
MHG: Thanks Denise! Your comment means so much to me. I’m so happy we got you buzzed about book creation. Best of Luck and may you have many publishing successes!
JC: Don’t miss this interview on Diversity in Picture Books with Melanie here:
Jama Kim Rattigan: Great piece!
MHG: Thanks everyone for participating in the Got Story Countdown! Whether you asked questions or read or send me well wishes silently, I appreciate it! You are all great! Last but not least, THANK YOU, Joy Chu! What a pleasure to work with you. Let’s do it again real soon!