January 23rd, 2012
Happy 2012! I began the new year working on a poster for Virago Theatre Company’s upcoming production, A Taste of Honey.
According to Virago Theatre: A sensation in the late fifties and early sixties with its bold racial and sexual themes, and boasting huge successes in London, Paris and on Broadway, Delaney’s script is considered a masterpiece of character driven black comedy. A Taste of Honey is directed by Virago Artistic Director Laura Lundy-Paine and performed in San Francisco’s intimate Thick House Theater.
About the artwork and design: A combination of brush pen illustration and digitally altered photographs–a stained paper bag and the face of woman on a 1950s advertisement–coupled with clean, modernistic design atop beautifully chaotic “grime.” In short: A mixed “mess.”
December 12th, 2011
Got kids on your Christmas gift list who like, love or need books?
Allow me to hook you up with the 4:00 Book Hook, a fantabulous e-newsletter dedicated to children and YA literature. The latest edition features their annual holiday book gift guide and I’ve gotten the okay to post that section online :).
The holiday gift guide features author reviews and recommendations of some of their favorite children and young adult books on the market. With the wonderful variety of books for kids and teens, you’re sure to find something for your selective young reader.
For your convenience, I’ve uploaded the entire Holiday Gift Guide section of the 4:00 Book Hook–just click on the page links below:
4:00 Book Hook Page 2
4:00 Book Hook Page 3
4:00 Book Hook Page 4
BTW, my recommendations for three of my favorite recently-published picture books are on page 4.
Oh, and please don’t forget to buy your books from your local brick ‘n mortar bookstores or at independent bookstores online–not that nameless shameless one using books as loss leaders :(. This holiday season especially, let’s show support and love for true book-loving booksellers… just sayin’. :-)!
Happy gift giving and reading!
P.S. 4:00 Book Hook is a free e-newsletter for people who share books with kids: parents, home-schoolers, teachers, grandparents and librarians. Contact the 4:00 Book Hook at this email address for your free subscription: firstname.lastname@example.org
(The above image came from this article).
December 9th, 2011
I was thrilled to work on the poster for this year’s Oakland Youth Chorus’ Holiday Concert. The title, Peace-ing It Together: Peace, Love & Music posed an interesting challenge since it was a rush job and I had to come up with a concept quickly. I put my attention on the word Peace-ing and thought of a dove. Christmassy, yes?
Then I sketched out the dove and placed a Treble Clef in its beak. This says “music,” right?
I played with a few drawing tools, comparing the various renditions in pencil, pen and chalk pastel. The chalk pastel won out. To give the artwork some extra oomph (plus, tie in with the young singers), I added a collage of digitally modified photos of the youth chorus on the wings and body of the dove. After tweaking the layout and type-speccing… Viola! A completed poster!
Be sure to check out OYC’s holiday concert this Saturday, December 10, 2011, 6 PM. Visit Oakland Youth Chorus’ site for more info.
November 2nd, 2011
Well, it could go something like that.
Yesterday, I joined PiBoIdMo which stands for Picture Book Idea Month. The main idea is to come up with one picture book (PB) per day so that by the end of the month you have 30 PB’s that you work on the rest of the year. is the brainchild of author, Tara Lazar, who hosts the challenge on her blog. 2011 marks the third year.
It’s not too late to join. You have until November 3rd to sign up. Check out the official deets here.
November 1st, 2011
Painting imaginary worlds is one of the best things about being an illustrator. I simply tune out the world around me and “access” an inner realm where colors sing, stories unfold and imagery pours forth in surprising ways. This is especially true when I listen to music as I work.
Lucky me: This summer, I worked on CD cover and booklet illustrations for award-winning musician, Kira Willey. Having worked with Kira on Dance for the Sun, her first CD, I was beyond thrilled to illustrate her new one, Kings & Queens of the Forest. I tried to capture the wonder and joy of the title song, Kings and Queens of the Forest, which celebrates our magical connection with nature.
Kira described her vision for the cover and I listened to the early tracks from the CD for further inspiration. Once I got the flavor of the music, I sketched out several rough concepts and showed Kira a tight pencil sketch (above). It took a few more weeks to complete the image which was painted with gouache, colored pencil and pastel (below).
Find out more about Kira, her music and yoga work with kids on this podcast.
June 3rd, 2011
Today, I’m blogging about Mike Jung AKA Captain Stupendous’ Numero Uno Fan and his May 28th Norcal SCBWI talk for writers and illustrators of YA and Kid Lit, aptly titled: DON’T BE A PINHEAD: Building an Online Presence Before Landing a Book Deal.
The gist of the talk: How Mike established an online presence which led to some very cool results. It wasn’t a how-to session as much as it was a terrific opportunity to hear Mike share his story. (Photo courtesy of Mike Jung.)
One of my favorite moments in the talk happened toward the end when we witnessed Mike burst into a raging bonfire of kidlitosphere effervescence–for fifteen seconds–his face twitching, eyebrows arching, eyes bugging out while sputtering: “Don’t you LOVE books and childrens literature? [Everyone nodded.] This is AWESOME! I love doing this! IT GIVES ME JOY!”
That, dear reader, is Mike’s “super power” behind building a fabuloso-bordering-on-megalomania online presence. He exemplifies passion. In an instant, my weariness from a slog rewrites dropped away and I was reminded of my own passion for kid lit. Enthusiasm is infectious.
A few anecdotes and tips on social networking from Mike:
• Join an online community of Kid Lit and YA writers such as Verla Kay’s Blue Boards where Mike is a Moderator. To get the most out of those boards: Participate. Joining is free and lurkers are welcome. But the more you participate, the greater the access to info and discussions. (Sorry, no direct quotes from Mike. I arrived a few minutes late just as he was wrapping up this part. FYI, I’ve known Mike for a while from the Blue Boards and I have a handle on the basics of that forum.)
• Facebook is an obvious way to get to know others in the world of kid lit and YA. Mike emphasized keeping it social and fun. For example, he’s used his FB Profile Pic as a way of sharing good news from others. For example, Mike posted a photo of himself holding a signed copy of Lisa Yee’s Bobby Vs. Girls (Accidentally) after he won her blog contest (more on that below).
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