There’s still a few spaces left for my upcoming workshop. Here’s the link for information and registration.
One of the bonuses of teaching at UCSD Extension is the diversity of the students themselves. It was a pleasure getting to know them through the work they produced in class.
For their final project, a 32-page book dummy, I gave my students the options of (a) working with their own original story; (b) re-illustrating an already published book; or (c) re-telling a traditional folk tale.
Here’s a peek into some of of the results…
Following a positive portfolio consultation with David Diaz at a SCBWI-San Diego One-Day-Conference, Ella German was eager to further develop the characters she drew from the sock kitten characters she created (right, and above top).
Ella brought her sock kittens, Pearl & Bear to class, plus a story outline. The manuscript went through several revisions. We discussed the motivations behind all the characters involved against the setting itself, and the theme of her story.
Another participant was Anna Guillotte, an accomplished fine artist who brought her own story about “a little pessimist,” an anxiety-ridden little girl. Anna wanted to encourage children there are ways to rise above everyday situations they could be anxious about.
We discussed how her story would need to spotlight a tangible challenge her character wants to overcome. And demonstrate how her “little pessimist” could triumph over her situation through her own actions.
Anna decided to have her character face an upcoming math test (right), which became her character’s challenge. A secondary character, her favorite stuffed bunny, was created as her alter ego/reactor.
The little girl’s studies, on top of her own anxieties, envelope her on test day. On her way to school, she encounters a Math Monster….
Here’s a book trailer Anna created to highlight her book premise:
Charles jumped into producing storyboards. Then he cut-and-pasted the text manuscript into a landscape format, marking page breaks. Corresponding thumbnail sketches were placed next to each text block.
Andrea Zuill displays and sells her work through Etsy and many craft fairs. In class, she’d regale us with stories about her world of hand-crafted art creators, online and in person. Threaded throughout her work is her sly humor.
For her class project, Andrea chose to illustrate her own version of Carter Goodrich’s Say Hello to Zorro!.
It’s still showering spring books! And alongside the blossoming cherry trees in Washington, D.C. comes a book that tells us how they got there.
More than 3,000 trees were sent as a gift from the Japanese government to the United States, to be planted along the Potomac River. Author Andrea Zimmerman introduces us to Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore, an American journalist and travel writer, who was responsible for getting the trees there.
Of special note: Andrea herself wears several hats. She is an writer; an author/illustrator; picture book blogger; and co-collaborator with her husband, artist David Clemesha. See her many celebrated children’s book titles here.
Great news: Another mother-and-daughter collaboration is in-the-works! Today, we get a sneak-preview right here!
I still receive terrific feedback about our winter 2010 Countdown Interview with Anne Rockwell. Click here to re-live her long time many-faceted career — with her late husband, Harlow Rockwell; on her own as author/illustrator; and her collaborations with many celebrated picture book artists.
This is the jacket art, with type design by Sean Boggs of HarperCollins.
Lizzy Rockwell: Here are the thumbnails for the opening pages. Also included below are the progressive sketches for the first story spread (pages 6-7); then the final art, with text type in position.
Joy Chu: [See above] The first spread is of the printed endpapers, or “self-ends,” numbered as pages 2-3. Page 1 will be glued to the book cover board. Pages 4-5 is the title page spread. The story begins on pages 6-7.
Lizzy Rockwell: On the opening spread, pages 6 & 7, Nicholas has a reckoning with his unruly end-of-summer hair.
Joy Chu: That added self-portrait of Nicholas — which first appears in the revised version of your initial sketch, is an inspired touch!
From a story telling standpoint, it serves as a clever means for us to feel his anticipation (and his anxiety) towards that first day. The reader will perceive Nicholas as a real live kid, not simply a made-up character. We can all identify with having bad hair days. It also sets up the scenario of the book’s theme nicely!
Many publishers will try out a talented new illustrator by commissioning a jacket for an existing classic.
It’s an excellent way to give such an artist’s work exposure in book stores. It’s also an opportunity to establish a working relationship with a publisher.
As for the artist, it’s a one-shot deal; in other words, you complete one piece, and you’re done! With a picture book, the process is on-going for several months. It can seem endless.
Hugh D’Andrade got the assignment of a lifetime: The opportunity to create the cover of a special leather-bound edition of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. What distinguished this project was having access to the author herself. Wow. . . .
Hugh describes the experience on his blog:
“…I have loved this book since I first read it in the 7th or 8th grade. . . Re-reading it a few years ago, I remembered how this book made me feel transported to another time and place, and how it helped me grapple with really difficult questions about morality and injustice. It’s a powerful story, told with such simple, elegant language…
. . . As with most book covers, this one took a lot of back and forth between myself and the publisher. We had to get all those little details right, from Scout’s ponytail, to the type, to the Southern courthouse featured on the back cover.
The biggest surprise in this process was the fact that Harper Lee herself was involved! Yes, she is alive, and though she is careful to stay out of the public eye, she collaborated with Sterling Publishers (a publishing imprint of Barnes & Noble) on this edition, to the degree that she looked over my sketches and gave surprisingly detailed notes.
As you might suspect, they were sharp and insightful, with suggestions on how to ensure that Scout looked as if she were actually tipping up on her toes to view the gifts hidden in the knot of that old tree. . . “
A previous assignment Hugh did for Barnes & Noble was a new edition of Alice in Wonderland.
Another recent project was the jacket and interior chapter openers for A Tale Dark and Grimm, by Adam Gidwitz, a New York Times bestseller.
Note the previous working title — it changed since then. . . .
“… the really cool thing is what we did with the wraparound dust jacket for the hardcover (see above). This sort of thing is tricky, because it has to work as a whole, but each panel has to work independently as well…”
Here is the book trailer that evolved from Hugh’s iconic graphics:
See more of Hugh’s amazing work at his blog.
This is the first time I’ve caught a book trailer several months ahead of its book release.
This is for G. Brian Karas‘ upcoming book, Neville (coming from Schwartz & Wade Books October 2011). He’s teamed up with author Norman Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth), a charmed pairing!
Little kids covet their security of home with family, and friends. Safe boundaries! That’s why moving to a new home rattles them to their innermost core. Neville gives us one child’s perspective on this event.
Book trailers can be the ultimate way to promote and create buzz for books. And don’t miss Brian’s application of Google’s 3D drawing app, SketchUp, as a tool in visualizing his drawings of Neville’s neighborhood.
She works in fabric relief, creating a stage-set effect that, in turn, is carefully photographed for reproduction.
From the Artist’s Note page of A Pocketful of Posies:
“. . . [the artwork] was made from a variety of materials, all sewn together with different stitching techniques on naturally dyed wool felt. I used materials such as acorn caps, stones, driftwood, and objects that I found outside….
“. . . Other things I found inside, such as buttons, beads, and wire. . . .I made all the parts, including the people, animals, trees, and houses, separately and then sewed them to the wool felt backgrounds, to build a new scene for every illustration…”
You can see the originals via a traveling exhibition currently touring. Check out the itinerary at Salley’s blog.
Joy Chu: It’s lovely to discover something new every time I gaze at one of your pieces! Did you photograph your artwork, or was it done at a professional studio? People often do not realize how tricky this can be — in terms of capturing crisp color and details, while avoiding harsh or unwanted indirect shadows.
Salley Mavor: Over the years (20 as an illustrator), I’ve had several different professionals take pictures of my fabric art for reproduction purposes.
Joy Chu: I know how difficult it can be to shoot art, as I’ve had to supervise many a session for a variety of publishers. Setting up the lighting alone takes hours! Then there’s color correction, surprise dust bunnies, et al…
Salley Mavor: Yes, the lighting is crucial, as well as the importance of showing every detail. Rick Kyle from Pembroke, MA took the photos for Pocketful of Posies, and he has done the best job of capturing the detail, texture and color of my work. I am happy that the publisher, Houghton Mifflin found him and made sure that the book’s production was excellent.
A good photograph can make all the difference with dimensional illustration, so that the viewer feels drawn in to the picture. In order to have a successful picture book, no matter what the medium, the child needs to be visually engaged.
Even though there is a tendency for adults to comment on my technique, my first goal is to make pictures which will hold the attention of a child and stimulate the imagination. Children aren’t impressed by how well the stitching is executed. They either connect or they don’t.
I wasn’t sure that the book would pass the child test until it came out last fall. I heard from the mother of an active toddler who carried my book around all day, wanted it read to him exclusively and recited the rhymes over and over.
His mother brought him to see the original fabric relief illustrations, when they were displayed in the Boston area.
Since the book was published last September, and the originals have been touring, I’ve heard from many different people. It is gratifying to know that not only women who appreciate sewing and handwork can connect to it, but men, teenagers and children, too.
Joy Chu: What is the size of your originals? That is, do you work same size, or up-size proportionally, relative to the final book trim size?
Salley Mavor: I usually work the same size, but some of the pages in Pocketful of Posies are enlarged from the original. The cover is the only illustration that is reduced in size. The found objects I’m using usually determine the size I work in.