Author Archive

Not one, but two boxes of books!

April 26, 2011
What’s better than getting a box of you latest book?
 
Getting TWO boxes of your two latest books. Last week I had the nicest surprise when I came home one day. I got a box from Raven Tree Press that included both the English and the bilingual versions of my latest book “The Park that Our Town Built.” But wait… there’s more. On the same day I also got a box from my other publisher, Do Life Right, Inc., with the brand new Wright On Time book #4 “South Dakota.” It sure feels great to see all that work right there in it’s final format. It’s been a very happy week.T.

 

Tucson Festival of Books

March 15, 2011

This past weekend was the Tucson Festival of Books. It was the third one since it began and each year it has gotten bigger and bigger. I heard people saying that over 100,000 people were expected to visit the festival over the weekend. Staggering numbers.

Most of my time was spent listening to various panels and presentations and spending time at the SCBWI booth. What an wonderful weekend it was. I must admit that I was somewhat star struck when being in the presence of three (yes 3) Caldecott winners.

E.B. Lewis, David Wiesner, Eric Rohman and Chris Gall

 On Saturday, I watched in awe as E.B. Lewis, David Wiesner and Eric Rohmann bantered with Chris Gall, who moderated the panel, about their work, inspirations and passion. Each one of these incredible artists shared wonderful pearls of wisdom with the audience about what drives them. Eric Rohman described himself as someone “who sits alone in his room trying to reach as many people as he can.” E.B. Lewis, who uses the term “Artistrator” instead of illustrator, at one point turned to the audience and said, “I don’t know about you guys but I’m having fun here.” What became obvious is that the three of them, all Caldecott winners, had one thing in common. They are all incredibly passionate about the picture book format and entirely committed to process of creating. Storytelling is of utmost importance and they completely immerse themselves in the process of creating an exciting, unique and emotional experience for the reader. The idea of awards, accolades, and success do not even come to mind. It was incredible to watch and listen to.

Chris Gall, Me and David Christiana

Both Chris Gall and David Christiana are illustrators that live in Tucson and I run into them every so often. We were all part of an illustration show a couple of years ago at the Tempe Center for the Arts. Ok, so I’m a geek, but I couldn’t resist the photo opportunity.

Adam Rex giving a digital painting presentation

The next presentation I attended was Adam Rex’s demonstration of how he digitally paints his illustrations. I work traditionally so I wanted to see how a true professional tackles the digital medium. It was a great presentation and I learned a lot about the process. So, I’ve now added the goal of digital painting that does not look digital to my list of things to accomplish.

 

David Wiesner talking about wordless picture books

David Wiesner and Eric Rohman talking about wordless picture books

 

David Christiana moderating the panel about wordless picture books

Next, I was in for yet another treat. David Christiana moderated a panel with David Wiesner and Erik Rohman about wordless picture books. David Wiesner gave us a history of the wordless picture book and covered many, many artists that have produced them in the past. The list was surprisingly long. They shared many of the inspirations about what drove them to creating wordless picture books. It once again fell back to their love of storytelling. They used terms such as “the ebb and flow” of the picture book and focused, on the importance of directing the reader and building the page turn. I was in awe. One of them quoted Degas: “a sculpture is something you back into when looking at a painting.” I don’t remember what it was in reference to but I thought it was worth repeating. 🙂

E.B. Lewis, Wendy Watson and Adam Rex talking about illustrating the stories of other authors.

Michelle Parker-Rock moderating the panel with E.B.Lewis

The last panel that I attended was moderated by our very own Michelle Parker-Rock, and it featured E.B. Lewis, Wendy Watson and Adam Rex talking about the process of illustrating the work of other authors. They talked about what draws them to certain manuscripts and how they tackle illustrating the work of others. Once again it became very evident that they all are extremely passionate about their craft. E.B. Lewis, who is so incredible to listen to, shared that his studio has an entire room filled with period costumes ranging from the 1800’s to today. He also came up with a visual that will remain with be forever. I am summarizing but he said that the picture book is a piece of cloth made up of the words (the vertical threads) and the visuals (the horizontal threads). He was so much more eloquent when he said this but essentially he stressed the importance of each of these elements and that only together do they make the whole.

It was incredible to be able to listen to these artists share their passion. I am so inspired right now to get back to work.

Happy Drawing. T.

Shaun Tan won an Oscar!

February 28, 2011

Did you watch the Oscars last night? How exciting that Shaun Tan won an Oscar for Best Animated Short for his film “The Lost Thing”. I am so excited to see his success with his animation, especially seeing that I have always been a fan or his incredible illustrations. Check out his website:

http://www.shauntan.net/

Here is a link to a page on Shaun Tan’s web site where he talks about “The Lost Thing.” He has lots of sketches and talks about the film as well.  http://www.shauntan.net/film1.html

 

Image from “The Lost Thing”

Illustration from “The Red Tree”

Illustration from “The Arrival”

 Illustration from “The Rabbits”

The Ugly Duckling

February 26, 2011

Poor little Ugly Duckling. Always being made fun of. Could it be that this is one of the first fairy tales that addresses the issue of bullying?

Happy Tell a Fairy Tale Day.

T.

Children’s Art Recreated

January 26, 2011

Taking children’s art and turning it into current art? Love the idea and it just goes to show how sophisticated artists kids really are. 🙂 Here are two artists that are taking a slightly different angle on this idea.

 

 

 http://themonsterengine.com/

 Dave DeVries, working out of New Jersey, uses kids doodles and drawings, and recreates them with a grown up flavor. His site The Monster Engine has been around for quite some time and has become quite a hit since is was first created in 2005. I love that he truly retains the essence and feel of the original doodles.

 

 http://www.yeondoojung.com/artworks_view_wonderland.php?no=88

Yeondoo Jung, from Korea, takes the same idea but executes it in a completely different way. His “Wonderland” series explores simplistic shape focused children’s sketches which he interprets into striking photography.

Happy drawing to all.

T

Mila’s Day Dream

January 25, 2011

 

 

 

 

How creative is this? Adele Enersen, while her daughter is soundly asleep, creates a completely different world … from whatever she can find around her! How inspiring is this and how visually wonderful! I’d love to see her come out with a picture book using this vey unique medium.

Her is her blog: http://milasdaydreams.blogspot.com/

Her facebook fan page is: http://www.facebook.com/MilasDaydreams?v=photos#!/MilasDaydreams?v=wall

Enjoy!

T.

Great School Visit Resources

January 24, 2011

My school visit brochure

School Visits. Authors do them; illustrators do them, should you? I would say, most definitely yes! Not only are they a wonderful way to let your audience know about you, your craft and your books, they are a great opportunity to learn about your audience and they are a great way to supplement your income. However, my favorite reason for doing school visits is to see how excited the kids and teachers get when you shown them your books and tell them about what you do. I come away from a school visit excited and inspired about what I do and eager to get back to work. That to me is worth more than anything.

So what is involved with school visits? Well, I won’t sugar coat it, they are a lot of work and take quite a lot of preparation. How do you book a visit? What do you include in your presentation? How much should you charge? How do you tie into the school curriculum? There are countless questions that come to mind, especially if you have never prepared and presented a school visit before.

Instead of writing up a huge long blog entry, I thought it best to provide some web resources from what I would call school visit experts. There is a lot of information on the web but I have found the following to be the upmost best on the subject. If you stumble across additional resource please send me the links as I am working on updating my website, where I am adding a section on school visit resources.

A couple of months ago, my AZ Chapter of the SCBWI offered a workshop with Alexis O’Neill on “Creating School Visits That Wow”. It was a very helpful presentation and offered some great resources. Alexis O’Neill a successful author, Regional Advisor for the SCBWI and the founder of both The Children’s Authors Network and School Visit Experts.com. You can read more about this incredible lady at: http://www.childrensauthorsnetwork.com/author/AO.htm This workshop sent me on a path to find out more about school visits seeing that I am not doing them much more frequently. Following are some incredible resources to get you started. Here we go:

 School Visit Experts.com (http://schoolvisitexperts.com/)

This site is a great place if you have specific questions about school visits. The resource page has a long list of articles ranging from Nine Business Basics for School Visits, Promoting Your AvailabilityShaping Your Presentation, and The Reluctant Presenter just to name a few.

Children’s Authors Network (http://www.childrensauthorsnetwork.com/)

CAN! was formed to provide meaningful programs promoting literacy and the creative process. This site is incredible when it comes to understanding what is involved with school visits. Check out these to get just a little taste of what you can find on this site: Author Visit’s Guide and Freebies

Verla Kay, http://verlakay.blogspot.com

The award winning author Verla Kay, offers a wealth of information when it comes to writing in general and her website, which even has a message board, has twice been named one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writer’s Digest. On Verla Kay’s Blog, she wrote an entire series of articles about school visits that are all a must read. There is a search feature on her blog. Just type in school visits and you’ll get a list of articles about the topic.

Elizabeth Dulemba, http://dulemba.com

If you are not familiar with “E” you have to check out both her website and blog. I would say that she is the one to follow when it comes to self-promotion and thinking outside the box. Check out her page on school visits, for great pointers and even a way on how to help your school get funding for the visits. “E” even presents her visits via Skype. She has a wonderful Media section, featuring posters, brochures, and other things that are great for school visits. Her links page, features some great articles that she has written.

 I hope this helps a little.

Happy drawing.

T.

Nine Ladies Dancing… well trying to anyway.

December 21, 2010

Dancing ladies are always so sweet and perfect, unless you go to a dance class when those kiddos are just starting to learn. You get all sorts interpretations of those dance positions.

Happy 12 days of Christmas.

T.

Favorite Holiday Book – My Penguin Osbert

December 13, 2010

 

My Penguin Osbert

I just love “My Penguin Osbert” written by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, illustrated by H.B. Lewis, published by Candlewick Press. It is a sweet story and Ireally like the way it is written. Most of all, however, I just love the illustrations. No surprise there, I’m sure. 🙂

Sketchbook video and tips from Mark McDonnell at Art Center

December 3, 2010

Take a peek at the video on the Art Center blog. Mark McDonnell talks about creating this sketchbook and has a couple of pointers for artists. I love that he gives himself themes or specific goals for a given sketchbook rather than just a place for sketching. It’s worth watching the 4 or so minutes.

http://theartcenter.blogspot.com/2010/11/mark-mcdonnell-mac-sketchbook-sessions.html

T.