Tag Archives: Harry Letterman

More highlights of Original Art

This week we’ll sample more selections from The Original Art Exhibit, featuring highlights from the best illustrated children’s books of 2011.


jacket from "Coral Reefs" by Jason Chin

Jason Chin takes picture book nonfiction into the realm of lyrical realism in his latest book, Coral Reefs.
The jacket gives a hint of what’s to come — a young girl exploring an underwater kingdom. We are presented with real-life marine biological facts through the text, visually told as an undersea adventure.

[click images to enlarge]

Jason Chin:  “The girl in this book is the daughter of a friend who used to live in Vermont, where I now live.”

Jason Chin:  “My illustrations are done in watercolor, the same size as they appear in the book.

To do research for the book, I visited in the coral reefs of Belize and learned to scuba dive so I could experience the reef first hand. . .”

“. . . Being underwater affected me emotionally — it was exhilarating to visit such an otherworldly place, but the reef itself was serene and mysterious . . .”

“. . . After my initial excitement, I looked around and felt very, very small and it was very peaceful.  I tried to bring what I saw, and also what I felt, to my illustrations–to make the images both visually accurate and emotionally honest.”

“. . . A girl stands in a library room [the renown Rose Reading Room of the 42nd Street New York Public Library] and removes a book from a shelf entitled Coral Reefs. As she reads we see the text below each image. The book explains how reefs are formed, who lives in them, and what their future may be. As we read along we see the girl’s library suddenly flooded. New York City is now underwater and the girl observes firsthand the lagoons, the feeding grounds, and the food chain at work. By the end she stands on the library steps utterly wet, and some other kids get to read the book world beneath the sea for themselves. . . It can be no easy task to show what the underside of the ocean looking up might be, or to pinpoint what shadowed underwater light looks like. From the endpapers of the fishies to the animals you spot around the reef, Chin has taken his time with this book to make it absolutely marvelous. . . “  — Elizabeth Bird, Fuse #8 Review, November 29th, 2011

Medium: Watercolor
Publisher: Macmillan / Roaring Brook Press / Neal Porter Books
Art Director: Jennifer Browne
Editor: Neal Porter
Author: Jason Chin
See Jason Chin’s previous book, Redwoods
Jason Chin’s website and blog


jacket from "Cookiebot!" by Katie Van Camp, illustrated by Lincoln AgnewLincoln Agnew creates the most amazing cookie-grabbing robot ever via Cookiebot!, the second adventure featuring Harry and Horsie, written by Katie Van Camp.

Agnew’s style is an homage to pop art, retro signage, and action comics, complete with Harry’s original blueprints for his cookie-seeking robot. Irresistible fun!

[click any image to enlarge]

Here’s Harry. . .

Here are his blueprints for his cookie-seeking robot. . .

Cookie wars! Horsie flies to the rescue…

How awesome is Harry, I ask you. . .

Fascinating factoid: Harry is the real-life son of David Letterman and his wife, Regina Lasko, at age 5. AuthorKatie Van Camp, who was their au pair for several years, says that her adventure tale Harry and Horsie started out as a poem she wrote for Harry, but it blossomed into a book, with the Lettermans’ blessing.

An interview with Lincoln Agnew

The official Harry & Horsie website
Medium: Digital
Publisher: HarperCollins  / Balzer + Bray
Art Directors: Martha Rago and Dana Fritts
Editor: Donna Bray
Author: Katie Van Camp


Original sample for "Blue Chicken"

Reality blends into a mind bending romp, mixed in with artful color lessons plus  pithily minimal verbiage via Deborah Freedman‘s original vision . Blue moon, kind of blue, and undo the blue with Blue Chicken!

“A moo wakes the chickens. They’re peevish and blue. They dump the red wheelbarrow, dropping that chicken who just wanted to . . .”

Deborah Freedman:  “I drew and painted each spread ‘by hand’, but as many separate elements, which were later pieced together in Photoshop. . .”

“. . . As you can imagine, splashing paint all over a finished drawing would be pretty risky! So I spent lots of time experimenting with pipettes, syringes, straws, and old toothbrushes – but on separate pieces of paper – before I layered the splashes over and under the rest of the artwork.”

[@ my students: This is an excellent tip . . .  what a time-saver Photoshop can be for your original artwork!—Joy]

Check out Deborah Freedman’s blog here.
Seven-Imp interview with Deborah here!
Deborah’s books and portfolio here.
Deborah’s  Blue Chicken blog
What is “Sculpey®”? Find out how Deborah found her models here.

Deborah molded her own Sculpey® white hen — the model for "Blue Chicken" (click to enlarge)

Medium: Watercolor and digital
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Imprint: Viking Children’s Books
Art Director: Jim Hoover
Editor: Catherine Frank
Author: Deborah Freedman




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