Tag Archives: Joy Chu art classes

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 winter 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

 

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!

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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

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

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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


Awestruck by teaching, part deux

Turtle by Andrea Zuill

Turtle by Andrea Zuill

Our story continues with awesome news: One of my students, Andrea Zuill (see Awestruck, part 1), just earned a 2011 Mentorship award at the 40th Society of Children’s Book Writers Summer Conference, alongside five other winners at their Annual Portfolio Showcase.

According to Andrea, it all started with author/illustrator Lori Mitchell recommending she attend SCBWI meetings.  She writes:

“. . . having a portfolio review with David Diaz;  going to your class;  meeting with my critique group; and going to Priscilla Burris‘s (SCBWI-San Diego) portfolio workshop. . . . I can’t believe I won the mentorship!  When I walked into the showcase I started grabbing promotional cards from all of the fantastic illustrators there. . . .  Within minutes of starting the showcase they called the winners’ names, and surreally they called mine!. . . I was totally blown away!”

“I was very excited to meet up with the mentors (E.B. Lewis, David Diaz, Priscilla Burris, Cecilia Yung, and Pat Cummings), soaking up what they had to say, and putting their recommendations into action.

So, today I will be taking the day off.  I am so freakin’ tired (having just returned from the Conference) that I can’t think straight.  But lastly I will say that without your class and advice I would definitely not have gotten as far as I have, so from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! — Yours in near comatose condition, Andrea”

Read more about the event here. The experiences of last year’s crop of mentees and this year’s are documented here.

Check out Andrea’s website, featuring her winning portfolio, here.

Kudos, Andrea! Here’s a peek at a few of her character studies….

More about teaching adventures to be continued. . .