Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Willamina Wonkas of the West

Two of my favorite ladies, Jolie and Holly, got our bums in gear this winter with their patented Revision Spanking Licorice Whip™. And luckily, they have canoodled together again THIS TIME WITH CANDY LETTERED LOGO!

How can you say no to this? For those of you going to the LA Conference you have about 10 weeks to get whatever you've got in proper shape for a consultation or review. Or you may have decided to take advantage of the extra hours of summer sunshine and go DiCamillo on your children's book's patoot and work on it at 4:30 am every morning. Or maybe you just need a purpose for the summer more fulfilling than a lovely tan or sampling every ice cream flavor at Molly Moon's in alphabetical order.

Whatever the reason, watch Brimstone Soup and CuppaJolie for the details on how to participate and join me in thanking them for being so industrious on a long holiday weekend.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Kim Baker + Joni Sensel + Laurie Thompson (x) SCBWI = Hilarity ensuing

From Wagging Tales and premiered at our SCBWI WWA Conference:

SCBWI Tribute from Kimberly C. Baker on Vimeo.

Muppets on Saturday!

I'll be spending as many hours as humanly possible at the EMP tomorrow and on other days since this officially opens Saturday:

Jim Henson’s Fantastic World
May 23-August 16, 2009

Here's the official blurb
The exhibition features 100 original artworks, including drawings, cartoons and storyboards that illustrate Henson’s talent as a storyteller and visionary. Among the variety of exhibition objects are puppets and television and movie props, photographs of Henson and his collaborators at work and original video productions, including excerpts from Henson’s early career and experimental films.

EMP|SFM will supplement the exhibition with a hands-on puppet theater starring Seattle’s newest band, Mudgarden Experience. The theater will allow visitors to experience what it’s like to perform puppets for an audience and view themselves on monitors—much like how it might have been for Jim Henson while he was filming “Sesame Street” or “The Muppet Show." The audience will be able to watch the puppet show from an area reminiscent of the famous stoop on “Sesame Street.”

There's a podcast version of the exhibit tour. You MUST listen to it!

Man, there are so many cool events for it:

Opening Day Events Saturday
Opening Weekend Events Sunday
Muppet History 101 with Craig Shermin on May 27
Muppet Music Moments film screening on May 30
Carter Family Marionettes on May 30
Commercials and Experiments with Karen Prell on June 10 (I'm really looking forward to this one.)
Exposed: Inside Film screening of The Dark Crystal on June 16
"Look Both Ways" with special guest Jane Henson on July 8

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

If only a subscription came with butterHorns

A sweet Christmas present from my now husband was a subscription to The Horn Book. I think the new issue will be one of my top five issues ever (and I have my mom's collection from the eighties on.) I might build this issue a little bed and tuck it in every night and give it bread and jam for breakfast every morning. Because much of this issue has to do with food. And it has Linda Sue Park, an article about Joan Aiken written by her daughter, and they picked, dare I say it, one of my top-5 favorite children's book characters to be on the cover (which is a much higher rating than #23 according to Betsy's poll.)

Plus the back page is an illustration by Melissa Sweet. How could a magazine be more wonderful? Only if it came with cookies. Excuse me, Mr. Sutton, but could you look into that?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Heart Elizabeth Parisi

The art director at the 18th SCBWI WWA Annual Conference was Scholastic's very own crazy lovely Executive Art Director, Elizabeth Parisi. Elizabeth oversees all the Scholastic hardcover trade imprints (except Blue Sky) and has a staff of 3 designers. Together they design something like 150 books or so a year?!? And she is responsible for so many beautiful Scholastic covers...

And I could list them all if I hadn't been late to her session because of a consultation appointment. AND if Elizabeth hadn't made me pee my pants upon entering the session because she did something so totally awesome:

It is hard to see, but these covers are actually from the dummies she received from us conference attendees that she had consultations with. This LADY, who is reading every manuscript she receives for work AND overseeing 150 books AND traveling across the country AND critiquing our dummies AND hosting this session went and scanned art from our dummies, added color to them, added type, AND created freaking COVERS for our dummies for her talk on 'What Makes A Good Cover.'

My THE BUNS MAKE DINNER is hiding in the upper left corner. Jen's Grand Prize winning art is in the lower right corner.

My consultation with Elizabeth was the next morning and she had printed out the practice cover she made and gave it to me! >Squeal!< Elizabeth gave me great, great feedback on my dummy which I am hoping to jump on this week.

I have a new children's book industry crush and it is Elizabeth Parisi. I'm sure I'm not alone.

**** Late breaking update to this post****
I'm such a dork! Awesome illustrator Kjersten ALSO has her dummy cover mocked-up up there, the adorable armadillo, crow and opossum are top center.

Monday, May 18, 2009

HEY! Jennifer Mann wins Grand Prize!

(all images by Jennifer Mann. And yes, they are freaking awesome)

Yessirree BOB! An ├╝ber-talented friend, Jennifer Mann, won the Grand Prize in this year's SCBWI Western Washington Annual Conference Juried Art Portfolio Show.

Just take a look
! She's got a hot dummy, too, and I'm positive you'll see her in print soon.

I first met Jennifer years ago in Brenda Guiberson's summer Children's Book Illustration Class through UW Extension.

Jennifer says the inspiration behind her dummy came from last November's SCBWI WWA Fall Writing Retreat with Patricia Lee Gauch and Darcy Pattison. And that she honed that story and her lovely art with her critique group's help.

If you'd like to follow in Jennifer's footsteps you can do so by signing up for a class this summer, a retreat this winter, or becoming part of a critique group. Oh, yeah, and attending the 2009 LA Conference or the 2010 SCBWI WWA Conference!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Gots Your Diplomatic Immunity Right HERE.

Hey, did you know that the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature will be in town tonight (the one on the left)?!? THE MAN who brought us Stinky Cheese Man and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and Knuckleheads and Time Warp Trio and guysread.com and a new telling of Alice and TRUCK TOWN?

Well, that man will be celebrating Children's Book Week at Secret Garden Bookshop in Ballard tonight at 7:00 pm. The event is open to the public. Get up close and personal with a bonafide dignitary. There will be snacks. There will be goodie bags. There will be a funny man, perhaps in a Miss-America-style sash, arriving in a little red car that says "Honk If You Like Ambassadors" on the window. There might be some gracious bowing.

Martha says when you meet the Queen of England you can never turn your back on the Queen, so if you leave a room you have to walk backwards out of it. In honor of Jon's visit, I think we should all try to do that as long as there aren't any enormous pits or potholes by Secret Garden.

Get a bit of Ambassador pre-funk here:

In Fuse News, Betsy has posted ALL the Top 100 picture books!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Check out guest blogger Sara Easterly over at Brimstone Soup!

Dudes. Where have I been all week? I've missed Parts 1 -3 of Sara Easterly's guest blogathon over at (Mrs. Wonderful)Holly Cupala's blog!

Thank heavens posts are archived. I'm honored to be Sara's partner on her graphic novel journey. Sara brought Chapter Five to our critique group the other night and all of the characters sparkle with personality. I know the general 'plan' of the story, but Chapter Five has me chomping at the bit for Chapters 6 and 7 -- I can't wait to find out what happens next even though I sorta know!

Get ready for Part 4 of Sara's guest blog, tomorrow, when she writes about Turning To The Experts. Prediction/spoiler alert: I have a feeling she will mention someone that rhymes with Shmark Shmeegle.

Here's a peek at last Fall's sketches of the main characters: Sana, Mischa, and Dano. At the beginning of the story and at the end, AKA pre- and post- pooberty. I'm still not sure if the art should be ink line or vector graphics, but either way starts with a hand-drawn sketch. In my world, a boy becomes a man when he switches from Super Big Gulps to Tall Americanos.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

SCBWI TEAM BLOG - Registration up for LA Conference!

Holy Frijoles, SCBWI International has a beautiful new website. You MUST check it out. And I am so excited for the opportunities it will hold to showcase illustrators. Just you wait and see.

Aaron Hartzler is the designer extraordinaire on all that stuff. I love what he's done for all the SCBWI merchandise, too. If you see me for a moment NOT in my SCBWI hoodie you'll know it is wash day.

And registration is now open for the LA Conference happening in August! It is a stellar line up. I hope to post a few faculty interviews as part of SCBWI Team Blog in the near future. Other Team Bloggers are going to, too, and I'll be sure to let you know when they have new posts, and be sure you are regularly checking out Team Leader Alice's blog or tweets.

In other news, have you been writing your picture book a day this past week? I hurt my back the other day and spent lots of time lying on the floor, thinking about picture books... I wasn't putting pen to paper and have no mini voice recorder. So all I can remember is that I'd like to draw a pig ordering stuff from Hamazon.com.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Join Paula Yoo and NaPiBoWriWee!

Paula Yoo, fellow SCBWI TEAM BLOG member, is starting a new week for all us writers to enjoy: today is the first day of National Picture Book Writing Week.

Here's a link to Paula's post, you can read all about the particulars there, but, it is 2:30 pm PST so you have a few hours left in the day to write ONE picture book! I'm going to shirk my household duties and do that right now.

Above is a quick sketch of NaPiBoWriWee3000. Why write a picture book yourself when a robot can do it for you? Sure, the stories are all in binary code, but robots are the next target market, don't you know?