Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ALA announces YMA for 2013 and some creepy sketches

Yesterday morning the kid literati world was all a-twitter as the ALA made its announcment of this year's outstanding books for young people. They always start with the Newbury, but since this is an illustrator blog I'm starting with the Caldecott winners:
Winning the gold was Jon Klassen's This Is Not My Hat

Honorees were Peter Brown's Creepy Carrots (we have a signed copy, proving in fact that our family is cooler than yours), Jon Klassen's Extra Yarn, David Small for One Cool Friend, Laura Seeger for Green, and Pamela Zagarenski for Sleep Like a Tiger.
Creepy Carrots!One Cool Friend

The Newbery Award went to The One and Only Ivan written by Katherine Applegate
One And Only Ivan

Three Newbery Honor Books also were named: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz,  Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin,  and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.

Thanks to the miracle of social media I got to send messages of congratulations to many of the winners. I have to say it was pretty weird to type "congrats on the caldecott"... made it seem a little more within reach.

There are several blogs that recap the full awards scope. The full announcement and webcast is here but my favorite is Betsy Bird's Fuse #8. Peter Brown also has a funny post about getting the phone call.

Finally I'll post a couple of sketches from one of the three projects I'm currently super busy with. I picked these to go with the theme of smart-alecky fish and carrots with mind twisting skills:

Monday, January 7, 2013

An Easy New Year's Resolution

Ah, there's nothing like closing out the old year with new projects. While I am truly attempting to be humble with this announcement, the last few weeks have brought joyous news for the Fabulous Illustrator.... such that I can't share until the contracts are all signed but at least one of these clients is one I have chased for some 15 years. I literally got out my rejection letters from this organization and they date back a looong way, many cheap apartments and a maiden name ago. So I leave you with this teaser! I'll post sketches and details as appropriate.

On to my traditional new year's resolutions post in which I make promises to myself for the coming year. Let's look back at last year's resolution: "Find more ways to be thankful for what I do have and quit trying so dang hard to get my hands around certain elusive dreams of illustrator stardom." I did try to live more thankfully in 2012 and I suppose I'll keep it as a holdover for 2013 along with "draw every day," my holdover from 2011. I believe these two resolutions combined have caused me to create better art in just the last two years than in all the years that came before. I make resolutions both professionally and personally but since making art is so personal often they overlap. The newly minted 2013 resolution follows this mold: "Listen to more music while making art."

huh, did she just resolve to do something really easy?

yes, yes I did.

I have a huge CD collection and pretty good sized iTunes library. When I strap on headphones and crank up the volume, all of a sudden the muse is transported to a new place! But the thing is I don't listen to music as much as I used to. Instead I listen to news radio - All Things Considered, Morning Edition and let's not talk about my addiction to On Point. I'm so fascinated by all those shows! But interesting as they are, they don't actually feed my creative energy and I don't realize how much they don't until I've spent a week listening to music while working instead of listening to the latest crisis. This past week is an example of that: I've had Voice of the Beehive spinning in the CD player and I've practically been able to draw in my sleep.

Then I think "this is awesome! I'm going to listen to music more! and I'll be giant swirly mass of energetic creative happiness!"

But I don't, I go back to getting sucked in by the headlines.

It's great to be informed, but sometimes it can be a real downer. So if I'm also resolving to keep being thankful and drawing every day maybe I should be humming a jaunty tune while I'm doing those other two. Thats why in 2013 I'm resolving to do something easy and listen to my music.

If I don't maybe this superhero will remind me

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year and NEW theme on Illustration Friday

This is not my traditional New Year's post. I'll do that along with some sketches of two new book projects I'm excited to be working on later in the week. For the moment this is sharing some new sketches from the last few days of 2012. We spent some time with the Fabulous Illustrator's brother and family and I did these sketches for the nieces while watching one of the MANY kid's movies floating around as gifts this year.

First, the princess/fairy loving one: I have a lot of experience with what makes little princess girls happy since I have one of those regularly underfoot - specifically lots of ruffles, lots of hair, lots of frills and at least one wand:

Second the dragon loving one: I have some experience with this kind of little girl as well since I was a dragon lover much more than a princess fan. In my memory big gnarly fierce dragons were the best and we liked to be able to boss them around:

Finally the preteen. Eleven year olds are much more cool these days than I ever was. Preteen Niece appears to have attained the same level of coolness at 11 that I reached at about 19 so I couldn't draw pictures of dragons and horses for her. Instead I noticed she spent a lot of time with the pets at Grandmama's house. I do remember being caught in the age between relating to little kids and relating to grown-ups. During that time, when there were no other in-betweens around, the company of animals was preferred: