Tag Archives: Julie Danielson

On Inspirations and My Upcoming Class…


Greetings! If you live, work, or are vacationing this summer in the San Diego area, consider creating stories with pictures at my class, on the beautiful campus of UCSD in La Jolla!

Illustrating Books for Children
Instructor:  Joy Chu
June 26-August 21
Wednesday evenings, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Register before June 25!
A section of UCSD campus at night

Inspiration is Everywhere!

During last winter’s 2013 class at UCSD Extension, I asked my students to locate the CIP book summary from any picture book, and use it as the inspiration for an eight-panel wordless picture story.

CIP (pronouncedsip”) is book publishing jargon for the Library of Congress Publishing Cataloging-in-Publication Data. This is found within the copyright page text of every book. It features a well-constructed one-phrase synopsis of the book’s theme.


Here is an example. One student, Aijung Kim, selected the following CIP summary from Chalk by Bill Thompson. While she didn’t read the book, she knew from its cover that it featured a dinosaur. She transported her setting to a beach…

Book Summary:  A wordless picture book about three children who go to a park on a rainy day, find some chalk, and draw pictures that come to life.

Here’s what she came up with:

Aijung Kim’s 8-panel wordless story, created during Joy Chu’s class, Illustrating Books for Children, at UCSD Extension (right-click image to enlarge)

Another student, Fnu Anisi, enchanted by Kevin HenkesKitten’s First Full Moon, wanted to explore an eight page wordless re-telling.

Book summary:  When Kitten mistakes the full moon for a bowl of milk, she ends up tired, wet, and hungry trying to reach it.

Here are Anisi’s results:

(Right-click to enlarge)

Fnu Anisi’s 8-page wordless story, created at Joy Chu’s UCSD Extension class (Right-click to enlarge)

At my upcoming summer 2013 UCSD Extension class (June 26-August 21), Illustrating Books for Children (ART 40011) we might look into creating an advent-styled calendar as a possible inspiration for creating a picture story.

Example: Look at the one Zachariah OHora created from his own story. Fun, yes?

Many thanks to Zachariah OHora and Julie Danielson for sharing the above image.

Creating a 3D model for your story setting can also serve as an invaluable reference in plotting out your narrative, as well as a guide in drawing scenes from a variety of perspectives. Note how illustrator Sophie Blackall created a diorama for her work-in-progress. She can view her characters from above!

(photo © PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved)

Author/illustrator Barbara McClintock builds cut-paper replicas of her illustrations, in composing her scenes. The following sequence is from her studies for an upcoming book, Adèle and Simon in China (all 3 photos below © Barbara McClintock)

"What do those little flat boats in photos of Tongli really look like? I have to find out by building one."—Barbara McClintock

“What do those little flat boats in photos of Tongli really look like? I have to find out by building one.”—Barbara McClintock

"...Now I can draw the boats in the picture and feel some sense of confidence in what I'm doing/seeing..."

“…Now I can draw the boats in the picture and feel some sense of confidence in what I’m doing/seeing…”

Tongli, China, circa 1908, as drawn by Barbara McClintock

Tongli, China, circa 1908, as drawn by Barbara McClintock

Here’s Tove Jansson, creating reference models for her fabulous Moomin stories.



Illustrating Books for Children / Art 40011
Instructor:  Joy Chu
June 26-August 21
Wednesdays, 6:30pm-9:30pm

Register before June 25!

illustration by Debbie Tilley


“A” is for Amy and the Original Art …

I was delighted to learn that this year’s chair for The Original Art 2011 was Amy June Bates.

Her skill in drawing people and animals is superlative. You want to know how children move differently from grown-ups? Seek out the people in her books, and peruse her renderings closely. Prepare to be enthralled.

a cross-section of the many books illustrated by Amy June BatesI became acquainted with her work while working as a free-lance  art consultant, with an editor who ultimately selected Amy to illustrate  I Will Rejoice (Zondervan Publishing) written by Karma Wilson.  She conceived a visual subtext about the joys of a typical day in one girl’s life to complement accompanying verse.  The vitality in her line work is based on solid anatomy drawing skills.

(click on any of the images below to enlarge)

from "I Will Rejoice" from "I Will Rejoice"

Here (below) are images from her most recent book, The Dog That Belonged to No One (published by Abrams) written by Amy Hest.

Amy June Bates’ interview with Julie Danielson* can be found here.

(* special thanks to Jules for the Hest and Original Art Jury images —JC)

cover and text illustration from "The Dog That Belonged to No One", by Amy Hest & Amy June Bates_____________________________________

Here’s Amy (back row, 2nd left), with the rest of the 2011 Original Art jury:

Jury for The Original Art 2011: (front row, left to right) Hyewon Yum, Julie Danielson, Sophie Blackall (next year’s chair), Cecilia Yung, Erin Stead; (back row) Scott Gustafson, Amy June Bates, Sean Qualls, John Bemelmans Marciano. (photo by Laurent Linn, last year’s chair)


And now, on to more Original Art selections to share. . . .

Little girls can be inspired to ditch their princess gowns, in favor of dressing as great women in history by perusing Selina Alko‘s book, Every-Day Dress-Up (Knopf). And you dear reader, can see original pieces at the Original Art!

Amelia Earhart spread from "Every-Day Dress-Up"

Amelia Earhart spread from "Every-Day Dress-Up" (click to enlarge)

Here's Selina's daughter, dressed as Amelia Earhart

Here's Selina's daughter, dressed as Amelia Earhart

cover image from "Every-Day Dress-Up"

cover from "Every-Day Dress-Up"

Medium: Gouache & collage
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Art Director: Melissa Greenberg
Editor: Erin Clarke
Author: Selina Alko


It’s a family affair! Selina Alko‘s husband, Sean Qualls, has images from two books at the show.

art from "Giant Steps to Change the World" by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee

art from "Giant Steps to Change the World" written by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee (click to enlarge)

Here’s Sean demonstrating his steps in creating his illustration  from Giant Steps to Change the World.

Medium: Acrylic, gouache, pencil, & collage
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Art Director: Laurent Linn
Editor: Courtney Bongiolatti
Authors: Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee

Visitors to the Original Art will also preview selected originals prior to official publication date, such as the following piece from Sean Quall‘s Freedom Song, due in bookstores January 2012:

art from "Freedom Song: The Story of Henry "Box" Brown" written by Sally M. Walker

art from "Freedom Song: The Story of Henry "Box" Brown" written by Sally M. Walker (click to enlarge)

Medium: Mixed media on paper
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Art Director: Martha Rago
Editor: Anne Hoppe
Author: Sally M. Walker


Beware of catching a cold (a funny one, that is) from the pen of artist Nora Krug at the Original Art Show. When she’s not creating art for children’s books, graphic novels, and other international publications, you’ll find her professing illustration at Parsons The New School for Design.

cover from "My Cold Went on Vacation"Medium: Brush and ink and digital
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Inc./ G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Art Director: Cecilia Yung
Editor: Nancy Paulsen
Author: Molly Rausch


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In celebration of Original Art…

Illustration by Rosalyn Schanzer, from WITCHES! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem Starting next week, we will launch into a series featuring selected works from the Original Art 2011, the annual exhibition that honors the fine art of children’s book illustration.

Behind every picture book project is a team. For our first series feature, we meet both the editor and the art director behind Rosalyn Schanzer‘s Gold Medal winner, Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem  (publisher: National Geographic Society).

title page spread from WITCHES!

title page spread from WITCHES!

We will continue with more selections that feature   the story behind making of  many other wondrous pieces, over the duration of the exhibit at the Society of Illustrators / American Museum of Illustration, October 27- December 31st, 2011. We will have surprise guests from the industry, discussing each selection. You won’t want to miss the banter. And you can add to the conversation.

The show features 150 books published in 2010-11, chosen from 590 entries submitted nationwide. The official press release featuring Gold and Silver Medal winners can be found here.

The Opening Reception is followed by an Awards Ceremony. In addition to the Gold Medal, there are Silver Medallists, plus one Founder’s Award.

So if you cannot make it to the Original Art show itself, visit The Countdown, from now through the end of 2011, and experience a sampling of the Original Art Show vicariously with us…

Kadir Nelson (Silver Medalist)

Lane Smith (Silver Medalist)

Zachariah OHora (special Founder's Award)

This year’s distinquished jury:
Amy June Bates (chair), illustrator
Julie Danielson, blogger, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, and Kirkus Reviews
Scott Gustafson, author/illustrator
John Bemelmans Marciano, author/illustrator
Sean Qualls, illustrator
Erin E. Stead, illustrator
Hyewon Yum, author/illustrator
Cecilia Yung, art director and vice-president, Penguin Books for Young Readers