Thursday, September 22, 2016

Paul O. Zelinksy offers some great advice for Illustrators

SCBWI is just bursting with great information to share.

SCBWI Board Member and Illustrator Extraordinaire Paul O. Zelinsky did a skype visit this month with SCBWI Australia East and New Zealand. I don't live in New Zealand. I didn't get to be there. But... notes from the session are online, here: Chapter Two: Climax! The Craft Of Illustration

It's a really interesting recap, and I especially love how Paul describes the feeling he wants his illustrations to convey. Like for his "The Wheels On The Bus"

Paul explained:

 "It’s a jumpy song, bright and happy. The feeling that I wanted visually was not just colourful but also ‘chewy’ like bubblegum. The pictures should be something that you could want to chew on and they’d be sweet when you ate them. The song is bouncy. [So I went with] oil paint with a certain amount of thickness. The act of pushing oil paint across the page felt sort of like the feeling of singing the song."

Here's another highlight:

Q: We have a lot of people who are just starting out in their Illustrator career - what’s pearls of wisdom could you provide?

 Paul notes that this is just from his experience and not the only way.

I would encourage people to not limit your artistic vision to illustration, but think about the whole world of other kinds of art and everything. There are a lot of trends that happen in illustration… and if you look only at children's books then it’s limiting…and that’s just me because I didn’t study illustration.

I go to figure drawing and draw from the figure once a week if I can. Drawing from life is a great thing and is good for training.

In terms of ways that you can make images, I just look at different things. And copy Art. It’s amazing what you can learn if you just start copying it. Writers as an exercise will retype someone else’s story and the act of putting down someone’s words will give you insights. Drawing from life is similar to copying from art. It teaches you to see more things then you would otherwise see.

Great stuff! Thank you Paul, and thank you SCBWI Australia East and New Zealand!

You can find out more about Paul here. And more about SCBWI Australia East and New Zealand here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

To Honor Anna Dewdney, Read To A Child

Llama Llama series writer and illustrator Anna Dewdney died this month, and, in passing, she did something pretty remarkable. As it says in her Publishers Weekly obituary (which was picked up by the Washington Post),

She requested that in lieu of a funeral service that people read to a child instead.

That's a beautiful legacy. Go do it, now.

And after you've read to a young person in your life, take a moment and read this powerful piece Anna wrote a few years ago that was published in the Wall Street Journal, How Books Can Teach Your Child To Care, on how reading builds not just empathy, but human beings.

It includes these lines,

When we read with a child, we are doing so much more than teaching him to read or instilling in her a love of language. We are doing something that I believe is just as powerful, and it is something that we are losing as a culture: by reading with a child, we are teaching that child to be human. When we open a book, and share our voice and imagination with a child, that child learns to see the world through someone else’s eyes. I will go further and say that that child then learns to feel the world more deeply, becoming more aware of himself and others in a way that he simply cannot experience except in our laps, or in our classrooms, or in our reading circles.

Thank you, Anna.

Illustrate and Write, and Read to A Child On,

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A group of men can be 'guys,' but what do you call a group of women?

Ladies? Girls? Gals?

If you've ever been stumped by this (like I have), check out this great piece by Kashmir Hill over at Forbes. She quotes Shawna Hein saying,

“I first started thinking about it when Girl With A Dragon Tattoo came out,” says Hein by phone. “It’s a whole action series where the main character is a bad ass, and yet she’s called a girl. You never see an action hero with boy in his name.”

 It’s hard to imagine Robert Downey Jr. signing up to play “Iron Boy.” 

The piece also includes this extremely useful - and very funny - infographic by Shawna Hein.

Continue to choose your words carefully!

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Brian Dettmer's TED Talk: Old books reborn as intricate art

This six minute video by book sculptor Brian Dettmer is amazing, kind of disturbing, and very thought-provoking...

This quote especially resonated:
“I think that the book will evolve, and just like people said painting would die when photography and printmaking became everyday materials, but what it really allowed painting to do was it allowed painting to quit its day job. It allowed painting to not have to have that everyday chore of telling the story, and painting became free and was allowed to tell its own story.” - Brian Dettmer
As we move into the future, Brian's point about non-linear information in books is striking... I don't really use my printed dictionary anymore, either.

Maybe the future of print is more about storytelling, and the book as a special object. I'm not sure. But it will be fascinating to see what evolves. And Brian's art is fascinating as well.

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Gene Luen Yang's "Glare Of Disdain"

From the New York Times, our National Ambassador for Young People's Literature published this comic: Glare of Disdain, a self-searching exploration of the power of story...

The first few frames of Glare of Disdain

Check out the whole comic here. I hope it inspires you, too.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

John Parra tells us about his Golden Kite Award-Winning Illustrations for "Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans"

In which John talks about the palate and his color choices for illustrating "Marvelous Cornelius"...

Thanks, John! And cheers again on winning the Golden Kite Award for your illustrations!

And congratulations also to blog reader Lois, for the great question. Lois, please email me your mailing address at leewind (at) roadrunner (dot) com and I'll send you the copy of "Marvelous Cornelius" that John signed right before recording our interview.

Illustrate and Write On!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Margarita Engle tells us about her Golden Kite Award-Winning "Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings"

Margarita Engel's memoir won the 2016 Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction.

Blog reader jpetroroy's question for the author:
Did you find yourself self-censoring while writing this memoir to protect others' feelings?

Margarita writes in response,
"Yes, I did censor myself while writing Enchanted Air, Two Cultures, Two Wings. I made the decision to omit anything that would embarrass or endanger a family member. I did not include certain anecdotes about my sister that I regard as her stories to tell, not mine. I did not include any stories about relatives who are still in Cuba if I felt that their activities or attitudes a long time ago might still cause problems for them.

At the time when I wrote Enchanted Air, I worried about how it might be received by Miami relatives, but I did not censor my plea for peace and reconciliation. The time felt right for publicly admitting that I am against travel restrictions and the trade embargo."

Thanks, Margarita, and congratulations again on your award!

And cheers as well to jpetroroy for the the great question, and for winning a copy of "Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings!"

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Kate Hannigan tells us about her Golden Kite Award-Winning "The Detective's Assistant"

In which Kate tells us about how she first heard of the first female detective to work for the famous Pinkerton's National Detective Agency...

Thanks, Kate! And cheers for winning the Golden Kite Award for fiction for your MG historical novel, "The Detective's Assistant."

Congratulations also to blog reader Christina Wilsdon for the great question! Christina, please email me your mailing address at leewind (at) roadrunner (dot) com so I can mail you the copy of "The Detective's Assistant" that Kate signed right before recording our interview!

Illustrate and Write On,