Thursday, January 23, 2014

My Favorite Books This Week Plus What I Blogged at Word Disco

True to my New year's Resolution in this post, I've been reading 5 books a week, rating them, and researching the agents who represent. Here are some of my favs so far:

The Santa Trap - Jonathan Emmet and Poly Bernatene, really funny with a satisfying ending

Tornado Slim and The Magic Cowboy Hat - Bryan Langdo, great illustrations

Crankenstein - Samantha Berger and Dan Santat, really funny illustrations that go with snappy story

Carnivores - Aaron Reynolds and Dan Santat, this book is funniest book I've read in a while. Great story and great illustrations.

Also over on Word Disco this week I discuss what happens when a sketch for a good idea leads to an existential crisis. It's all part of the job. Read that post here.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My New Year's Resolution post has been hijacked by the cold

uh lessee… what can we say about 2014 so far…. IT'S COLD!

Apparently right at the moment the entire North American continent right down to Miami is suffering from a polar vortex that causes terror not unlike this:

It causes weather apps to look like this:

All that being said, instead of my traditional blog about a New Year's Resolution I've been paging through beach house listings… palm trees…. baked oysters… ooooo aaaaaahhhh - Ouch my fingers just froze to the keyboard!

(fingers gripping coffee for warmth) Back to resolutions….a few months ago I read how a particular agent I admire reads five picture books a day no matter what. That struck me as a particularly good goal to have. But five a day is pretty tall order. I know that sounds crazy since I have two small children and we read books all the time but I pretty sure that agent didn't mean she reads the SAME 5 picture books every day. And I'm pretty sure they are not all about princesses and airplanes. So to make this resolution workable I'm reading 5 new picture books a week, preferably published in the last 3 years. For at least 15 years I've been flipping open the cover of every book I see to read who published it. Because of that I have a built in knowledge of which publishers I'd love to work with but connecting projects to agents takes a little more research. So on top of five new books every week, I've decided to create a rating system - ones I love, ones maybe I can learn from, and ones that -ah- don't fall into the first two categories. With the help of this system and Publishers Marketplace I can track which agents work on projects that I admire.

Five books a week, seems pretty easy. Kind of like resolving to listen to more music. But one thing I learned from my 2011 resolution to draw every day is that in order to fit one's dreams into a schedule full of kid work, school work, client work, house work, family time, and taking the occasional shower the dreams need to be bite-sized. Five books a day is definitely chewable.

And I'll start it right after I wrap up in five sleeping bags, de-ice the door, chisel out the car and skate the minivan to the library.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The NEW Once Upon A Sketch is Officially Open

I'm happy to begin 2014 writing on the renewed Once Upon A Sketch blog with my fellow contributors:
Donald Wu
Chris Jones
Norm Grock
Jennifer Zivoin
Jannie Ho.

Each of us bring a different perspective on creating art, especially for children. Check out our first collaborative post, What We Wish We Knew.