Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spinal Tap

Life and house are a bit crazy right now. This will probably be the last post until we get back from our secret-to-me Honeymoon.

One calm-bringing element: we got new bookshelves to fit all of our books. Which have been piled in the window or teetering in my office or still in boxes.

Not the best picture, but you get the drift:



Poor librarians seeing this picture, I can almost feel their organizational hairs rising in protest. Sorting books by color is really easy. Easier than the Dewey Decimal system or the god awful alphabet. I love seeing my books grouped this way. I also love finding the History of the Pacific Northwest next to a Zelinsky pop-up or a Blevgad illustrated Pepperidge Farm Cookbook.

It is interesting, to me at least, how many books have a warm-color cover but a cool-color spine and vice versa and how that changes my reaction to the cover vs. the spine. And that most of the black spines are books by men...

Friday, March 20, 2009

The nice thing about a picture book dummy

Is it's made of paper.

And putting one together requires only you and daylight and some tape.

Taping and folding each page spread together is so much fun. I made one yesterday and am hoping there's a moment to make another one today.

I printed off most of the pages before losing power the other day for more electrical work. I reallly love electricity. And while I was powerless I was texting with Aaron about electrical details and the day... Which cost 20 cents per text apparently. So he asked me to write all my texts down on paper and he'd read them at home later. I think he thought that would stop me. And I guess it did because a one-sided conversation is never fun unless you have a sock puppet.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where I'll be on Sunday

I love paper. I love zones. I love Paper Zone. And what a smart and savvy thing to get their delicious neighbors involved. My stimulus package is stimulated.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Susan Patron in town!


Hey Lucky fans,

Susan Patron will be at the University Book Store tonight in Mill Creek with her sequel to the 2007 Newbery winner.

See more of Lucky, Lincoln, Miles and Hard Pan. Plus Matt Phelan's sweet, soft illustrations in LUCKY BREAKS. And an interesting use for tomato worms...

March 10, 2009
Tuesday, 6:30 pm
University Book Store
Mill Creek

Saturday, March 7, 2009

10,000 Hours


The contractors are gone from our house. It is so quiet now, just the sound of Bebop snoring and Logan tooting. I have full access to the downstairs for all the cosmetic work I get to do, all the spackling and painting I've ever dreamed of. And some tiling eventually.

While I do all this I'm listening to OUTLIERS, Malcolm Gladwell's new book. Such a nice last name. I'm on Disc 3 and have just heard about the 10,000 hours of practice it takes someone to get really good at their craft. I love that number!

Starting now, at 0 hours, I'm going to count how many hours I paint and draw. For the month of November last year I worked an average of 8 hours a day, 7 days a week to do the 12 holiday monster paintings. That's only 224 hours. If I work like that for the next 44 months I will hit my 10,000.

But I need a paying job...so it might take me 88 months. Which is like, 7 years. But besides cupcake testing there is nothing I'd rather do than illustrate and if Malcolm promises me I'll be really, really good in 7 years I will happily believe and try. And if any of the hours I've already put in doing art secretly count and I'm better sooner than 7 years from now, what a lovely surprise that will be.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Happy Birthday, Hula Hoop?

This morning the alarm went off and I thought the radio said it was the Hula Hoop's 46th anniversary. Can't find a source confirming that, so maybe it was a dream and my doodles are for nothing.






If the hula hoop could drive a car or pick up fast women I'm sure that would be on its list of things to do. What do you think a hula hoop in crisis would do?

Poaching Happiness

My Nana's friends threw me a bridal shower in lovely historic Snohomish a few weeks ago. The median age was 80, but they have more energy, vim and vigor than most people I know.
And there was some swearing!

The shower was truly splendid. A luncheon and a little vase of spring flowers by my place setting. And kitchen-themed presents! Each present consisted of a recipe with its accompanying crockery or ingredients. I'm now the proud owner of many new pans, bowls, and containers of cocoa and look forward to making ALL the recipes both sweet and savory.

My aunt's present, however, has changed our world. She got us the Eggbot 3000. Okay, Gourmet Egg Cooker 810 is its street name. I've been having a perfectly poached egg EVERY day since I got it. It is adorable, easy to clean, and on my diet. I'm the kind of person that gets very down in the winter. The Good Mood Diet I've been following has you eat an egg every day. No joke, I can feel a difference in my mood if I don't eat an egg. And now I have a little egg butler to do all the cooking for me!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I Can Haz Good Grammer!

Today is not only a date, but an imperative: March forth! Happy Grammar Day!

Big brain and wonderful friend, Martha Brockenbrough, has not only been in a plane with the Jonas Brothers, but has also started her own holiday.

Feeling a bit Rushmore -- like you need to join a club? Or perhaps your grammar is a bit rusty?

Well, Martha can help you out on both points:

Join SPOGG right now. You get a cool membership card and can start reading the SPOGG blog.


Get her new book, Things That Make Us [Sic]. Be honest, we all could use some grammar help and why not laugh your pants off while you learn?




Today, drink a grammartini or eat some chocolate covered grammar crackers and learn when to use 'lay' or 'lie'.

Points for finding my grammar mistakes in this post.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Breaking News! Golden Kite Winners Announced!


I'm so thrilled to have this information early! Here it is from the official press release (links and shout out added by me):

THE SOCIETY OF CHILDREN'S BOOK WRITERS AND ILLUSTRATORS ANNOUNCES THE
WINNERS AND HONOREES OF THE 2009 GOLDEN KITE AWARDS
The Golden Kite Award is the only award presented to children’s book authors and artists by their peers.

Winners for 2009 are:

Fiction:

DOWN SAND MOUNTAIN
by Steve Watkins
Candlewick Press

Nonfiction:

A LIFE IN THE WILD: GEORGE SCHALLER’S STRUGGLE TO
SAVE THE LAST GREAT BEASTS

by Pamela S. Turner
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Picture Book Text:

A VISITOR FOR BEAR
by OUR VERY OWN Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
Candlewick Press

Picture Book Illustration:

LAST NIGHT
Illustrated and written by Hyewon Yum
Farrar, Straus and GirouxLink


Sheesh, talk about a banner year for Candlewick and FSG! And dear Bonny Becker who gave an amazing talk on revision a few weeks ago at our monthly SCBWI meeting. Bonny read a snippet of the upcoming third Mouse and Bear book at that meeting. Let me tell you, these two characters are sweet and fun and full of heart, just like Bonny and I can't wait to have the whole collection.

And how do I know about these Golden Kite Winners early you may ask? Well, a few weeks ago Alice Pope emailed me with the deal of my century. I am proud to say I'm on SCBWI TEAM BLOG for the SCBWI 2009 Summer Conference! We'll be leaking hot info (sounds bad, but it is good) on SCBWI conference news and great things like the Golden Kite Awards.

My fellow team members are:

Head Honcho and Divine Shoe Wearer: Alice Pope
Fellow Seattleite, Dear Friend and New Puppy Owner: Jolie Stekly
Hilarious and Crazy Prolific: Suzanne Young
Friend to All and Party Guy: Lee Wind
Karaoke Championess and Awesome Hair: Paula Yoo

We'll all be at the LA Conference this August and I believe our TEAM BLOG HQ is the lobby bar!

Hiatus Blows



I was deaddog sick a few weeks ago and spent a lot of time on the couch.
A few things I did:

Realized how much I miss blogging and reading blogs even if I'm crazy busy
Ate my weight in pho
Watched movies I somehow did not see growing up like Say Anything, Pretty In Pink, and Working Girl
Lost part of my brain cells playing too much Chain Factor
Listened to Alyson B. Stanfield's podcast interview on CRAFTCAST as well as the Wendy Rosen one
And I read this book I'd Rather Be in the Studio by Alyson B. Stanfield.


The book is wonderful and I'd recommend it to any artist. It is geared to artists wanting to get work in galleries, but I think much of it can be applied to illustrators. Alyson stresses the amount of time you really need to dedicate to marketing. But this is only after you have a substantial body of work. I think my body of work still needs to do some growing so I will be focused on that for a while even though I LOVE marketing.

Wendy Rosen said most successful artists work 60 hours a week. So my being busy is no excuse for not being on the blog train and sneaking some art and writing time in here and there. Annie Gage is getting up super early like Kate DiCamillo did to write and Laini Taylor is getting up early this month, too!

And I have good news that I'll be able to post about at 9:01 am this morning!