Tag Archives: Lizzy Rockwell

A visit from Anne Rockwell & Lizzy Rockwell!

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.

Her interview with daughter, Lizzy Rockwell can be found here. — JC

Anne Rockwell: HarperCollins is publishing First Day of School, illustrated by my daughter, Lizzy Rockwell, due out in June 2011.

Jacket art, with type for "First Day of School"

This is the jacket art, with type design by Sean Boggs of HarperCollins.

This is a new title in our series about the children in one particular classroom, the most recent being St Patricks Day and President’s Day.

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.

original thumbnails for 3 spreads

original thumbnails for 3 spreads

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.

sketch for pp 6-7 of FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL

dummy sketch for spread 6-7

revised sketch for spread 6-7

revised sketch for spread 6-7

finished art for spread pages 6-7

finished art for spread 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!


Show us your latest picture book!

We’ll be seeing some sparkling new picture books with spring just around the corner.

Here are just a few, sent in by book friends. We’re get up close and personal on the collaborative aspect, in weeks to come. Stay tuned!

Roxie Munro has a new book, Hatch!, just published by Marshall Cavendish. It’s a big picture book with a guessing game about eggs, and the birds that hatch from them.

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb, by Bauer/McCully

Marion Dane Bauer has a new book coming soon, with illustrations by Caldecott medalist Emily Arnold McCully.

Illustrator Lori McElrath-Eslick‘s new book is by NYC fireman Tim Hoppey.

Popular librarian Jeanette Larson has a new book, Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas, beautifully illustrated with textile art byAdrienne Yorinks, just published by Charlesbridge. There will be a Book Release party at Book People (Austin) on March 5 at noon. The book looks at the facts about hummingbirds and couples that information with folktales from peoples of the Americas. Great for kids or birders of any age.

The dynamic mother-daughter duo of Anne Rockwell and Lizzy Rockwell returns with First Day of School, featuring the children we’ve met in their previous classroom holiday books. We will get a sneak peek here!

And Bridget Strevens-Marzo writes us from France:

I’ve really appreciate your Got Story interviews on digital books; and Anne Rockwell; but I’m running to catch up! That’s why I identify with the snail in the book I illustrated, MINI RACER, just out yesterday with Bloomsbury US and UK. Kristy Dempsey’s text is a zooming romp of an action poem so I had to come up with all the characters from a mouse in a cheese car to alligators in a gas-guzzling Cadillac and a visual storyline that fit their personalities. So far, no one has noticed that the most eco-friendly vehicles get furthest in the race. . .

Mini Racer by Dempsey and Strevens-Marzo

[An update: This cover is from the U.K. edition. Go here to see the U.S. version. — JC]

Do you have a new book coming out this spring?  Drop me a line. You could be in for a lot of nosy questions about it at the Countdown!

Thank you, Anne Rockwell…

Homage to Jose Clemente Orozco by Anne Rockwell

. . . for being our Guest Artist-in-Residence. You shared so much of your wisdom about the children’s picture book world with us. We’ve been blessed by your generosity and spirit. You really “walk-the-walk” — as you demonstrated through your own multi-talented children and grandchildren, and to the rest of us.  🙂

Santa by Anne Rockwell
Your wonderful books reflect your far-reaching interests. Thank you for allowing us to collaborate with you at the Countdown.

Special thanks too, to your co-collaborators. . . .

"Valentine's Day"

Lizzy Rockwell

final cover for BIG GEORGEW

Matt Phelan

Cover from "What's So Bad About Gasoline"

Paul Meisel

Cover from CLOUDS

Frané Lessac

Cover from "Open the Door to Liberty"

R. Gregory Christie

. . . and so many more collaborators who popped in:  Vanessa van der Baan and daughter, Megan Halsey, Bernice Lum. . . .

And YOU, dear readers — including those who chimed in; those who sent emails; those who attended and absorbed quietly; those who tweeted; and the rest of you, who spread the word. Thank you ALL for joining the Countdown!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

"Sweet Potato Pie" by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Carolyn Croll

Artist Carolyn Croll sent an email "Howdy!"

With Lizzy Rockwell

All three of Anne’s children have flourishing careers in the arts. Lizzy Rockwell is both an acclaimed artist and author-illustrator of many picture books. Do visit her website at www.lizzyrockwell.com.  

Over the next few days, we will meet several of the distinguished illustrators who have illuminated Anne’s text. We are open to your comments, dear Reader! 


3.  One of your most frequent collaborators is your daughter, Lizzy Rockwell. Did you ever dream you’d be collaborating with one of your own kids on picture books? How you keep it professional? You two must have a fabulous relationship!

Anne Rockwell: You know, it just happened.  And Lizzy and I really work as separately as I do with any other illustrator.  In the beginning I gave her more input, but no longer.  We have a very good relationship, but quite different work styles, I feel.

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Lizzy Rockwell: Mom and I do have a great relationship.  Our work collaboration is quite professional. Unlike my parents, who worked side by side in the same studio, Mom and I have our own workspaces.  We might brainstorm new ideas over lunch or dinner, or on the phone, but we do all the physical work separately.  It’s great working with my mom, because there is no barrier to communication.

With all my other collaborative projects, I have never had any contact with the author till after the book was produced.  People are always so surprised to hear this, but it’s true.

The editor or art director acts as the go-between.  But with Mom’s text, if I have a question about what direction to go, or what she might have intended that wasn’t clear to me, I just ask her.

But at the same time, because she is such a great illustrator, and writes with a vision in her head, I have to be careful to really think it through for myself, and at least try to come up with the image before asking for any input.

In most cases I show the sketches to our editor at the same time I show them to Mom.

Joy Chu: You two have come up with delightful classroom featuring a cross-section of children in your holiday series of books for Harper. ST.PATRICK’S DAY is your eighth entry. Who came up with Mrs. Madoff?

"St Patrick's Day" by Anne Rockwell and Lizzy Rockwell

"St Patrick's Day" by Anne Rockwell and Lizzy Rockwell

Anne Rockwell: Lizzy had a pair of friends from college who shared the other half of a 2-family house. During this time (when we came up with the series), they got married, one becoming Mrs. Madoff. She got her masters in teaching, just as the first book SHOW AND TELL DAY was under way so we gave the teacher her name as a combination wedding and graduation present. It stuck. No relationship at all to Bernie Madoff, by the way.

Mrs. Madoff (left) from "President's Day"

Mrs. Madoff (left) from "President's Day"

Joy Chu: Do you still have any of your rough sketches from ST. PATRICK’S DAY?

Lizzy Rockwell: Here are four scans from St. Patrick’s Day. One shows one of my pages of thumbnail sketches that includes the spread (bottom of page) of Nicholas as St. Patrick driving the snakes (Sarah in snake costume) out of Ireland. These thumbnails are drawn on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of copier paper.

Selected thumbnails from "St. Patrick's Day"

Selected thumbnails from "St. Patrick's Day"

Next is the more resolved book dummy drawing (9″ x 18″),

A tight sketch from "St. Patrick's Day."

A tight sketch from "St. Patrick's Day."

and then the finished artwork (same size as dummy).

Finished art spread from "St Patrick's Day."

Finished art spread from "St Patrick's Day."

The last scan is the spread as printed in the book, with type in place.

Finished art from "St Patrick's Day," with type in place.

After final art is turned in to the publisher, the designer (in this case, Stephanie Bart-Horvath) positions all typography.

Joy Chu: You have raised three accomplished professionals, Anne. Your eldest daughter Hannah is affiliated with a major advertising agency in New York City. Your son Oliver is a full time photographer and web master for a New York company, working from Beijing. And there’s Lizzy! 🙂 How did you expose your own children to the world?

Lizzy Rockwell: Growing up in my family was quite an adventure.  Along with all the cultural immersion right in our home in the form of books, music and art supplies, we spent many weeks of many summers traveling around France, Italy, and England.  We were exposed to a lot of beautiful art and architecture, much of which was lost on us at the time!  But we absorbed it through osmosis and had that amazing time together as a family that I think many kids don’t get.

Lizzy's bookstore image

Of course, because we were separated from our home diversions like television and American peers for long stretches, we devised new ways to entertain ourselves: drawing, writing stories, making up intriguing  conspiracy plots about the places and people we came in contact with.  My sister Hannah was the creative director of all this imaginative play. We had a lot of fun.

On art media

cover from ONE-EYED GIANT and Other Monsters

ONE-EYED GIANT and Other Monsters

Joy Chu: Your replies are so fascinating and fun. It’s great we are having this exchange. I also enjoyed your depiction of Greek monsters (silk-screened gold ink outlines, then colorized) in THE ONE-EYED GIANT and THE BOY WHO WOULDN’T OBEY. Who did you work with on those two books? And another one of your books was drawn by you, and colorized by another artist. Did that happen at the time you started having problems with your hand?



Anne Rockwell: On BOY WHO WOULDN’T OBEY and THE ONE-EYED GIANT, I worked with Libby Shub (now deceased) and Ava Weiss (art director, retired) at Greenwillow.  I’d had one of many hand surgeries so Lizzy (daughter Lizzy Rockwell) colored in ONE-EYED GIANT under my supervision.  BOY WHO is bamboo pen, sepia ink, and watercolor on cream Japanese rice paper.  I’m particularly fond of the way that book looks.

Whoo! Whoo! Goes the Train

Whoo! Whoo! Goes the Train

Are you referring to WHOO! WHOO! GOES THE TRAIN — by me and colorized by Vanessa van der Baan?  That was due to hand problems. She’s a good friend.  We’re doing another book together for editor Phoebe Yeh called VROOM! VROOM! GO THE POLICE and this one Vanessa is illustrating all by herself — a first.  But she’s been an animator at Cartoon Network ever since she finished college at NYU film school.