Monday, February 22, 2010

Battle of the Books!!!

Betsy Bird at Fuse #8 makes listening to rules fun. Not RULES, I loved that book. But contest rules and regulations, like for School Library Journal's Battle of the (Kids') Books 2010.

And look! She's upgraded the zombie sock puppets!!! I think I can die happy now.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Good News! :) Bad News :( Good News? :)

Good News! One of my favorite authors/illustrators/teachers/people, Brenda Z. Guiberson, has three books coming out this spring and another three in the works. You might have seen her latest, LIFE IN THE BOREAL FOREST, has been getting rave reviews.

Bad News. Brenda is going to be really busy this summer, so she will not be teaching my favorite class in all of children's bookdom, the University of Washington's Extension class "Illustrating Children's Picture Books."

Good News? I'M GOING TO BE THE SUBSTITUTE TEACHER! EEEeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!! More details about registration coming soon, but I love this class and hope I make Brenda proud. I've already done the most important prep -- picking out my first-day-of-class outfit:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

All Brown, All the Time

Buddies! Check out this excellent interview author/illustrator Peter Brown did while he was in town on his last book tour:

Smart bloke, eh? Peter Brown is coming back to town, you know, for our umpteenth awesome annual conference, April 10 - 11. Not only the Conference, Peter is also one half of our freakishly groovy Master Class for Illustrators the day before the conference. He and art director Tim Gillner have already assigned homework and reading. I am soooo excited. I'm baking cupcakes for everybody.

There may be a spot or two open for the class still. Be sure to read the Chinook Update for news of possible openings. Did I mention I'm making cupcakes? Or that the price of the class includes your registration fee for the conference? And cupcakes?

And if you are over 13, please, please, be sure to watch my favorite book trailer in the history of book trailers:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Previously on Bound: Teens at Random

Do you have/are you a teen that needs some new books?

Why not get those books for free?!?

Random House's Teens @ Random site is doing everything right -- they've got great blog content from multiple bloggers, guest authors doing posts, and tons of giveaways (every Friday you could win a yet-to-be-released title!)

Check out a brief sampling of some upcoming fun:

Parties and PotionsGimme A CallThe Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin

Read the latest in the Magic in Manhattan series, "Parties & Potions" by Sarah Mlynowski and then enter to win one of 50 signed copies of her next book out in April, "Gimme a Call."

On February 22nd, there's a chat with debut author Josh Berk that teens can submit questions to. "The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin", out last week, is a teen murder mystery with some offbeat heroes, just my cup of tea. Awesome title and cover, too.

AfterItalian for BeginnersThe Art of French Kissing

And if you need a dose of celebrity with your teen book, check out Kristin Harmel's new "After," which was included in the recent Golden Globe's gift baggies. Nothing says primetime like a photo-op with Blossom... Clearly I'm a bitter, jealous stinker! I'll go brood into my oversized sunhat now. Harmel you may recognize from her adult romances like "Italian for Beginners" or "The Art of French Kissing." Awesome title, redonkulous cover.

For the latest on all Random House kid/teen contests and author events follow them on twitter here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Virginia Lee Burton documentary is a must watch!

Hey, February is already half over, how is this possible? Such a tease of a month.

My reward for last week was watching the Virginia Lee Burton documentary (Netflix.) HAVE YOU SEEN IT, CHILDREN'S BOOK PEEPS???

I watched it twice in a row and then the DVD extras. A lovely companion piece to Barbara Elleman's Virginia Lee Burton: A Life in Art.

I have been a Folly Cove Designers fan for quite a while, and it was such a treat to see some of the original designers on the DVD extras. Amazing amazing Virginia and friends. One of Virginia's secrets to success, though, of having a family and career and community all at the same time was a Finnish housekeeper. So, I'm on the look out for a big broad who makes strong coffee and fluffy nisu.

Her other secret seems to be not letting others invade her book making time, she had a sign on her door that said "If You Have Nothing To Do, Don't Do It Here."

Ooo, you just need to watch the DVD! If you watch it you'll hopefully agree with me that we need to bully her sons into publishing her never released book about design. This trailer doesn't do the DVD justice:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Previously on Bound: Teen Valentine

Teen Romance!

We'll leave off the gigantor obvious romance as there's an entire Superfan devoted to it.

So what else is there to read?

Nick & NorahGracelingVegan Virgin  Valentine

My favorite teen romances:
"Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist" or most anything by Rachel Cohn or David Levithan.
"Vegan Virgin Valentine" or most anything by Carolyn Mackler.
For a more ass-kicking romance, I adored "Graceling" by Kristin Cashore.

And romances I can't wait to read:

I Heart YOuThe Naughty ListThis Lullaby

"The Naughty List" by my buddy, Suzanne Young! She's got excerpts of the book up on her blog if you want a sneak peek read.
"I Heart You,You Haunt Me" by Lisa Schroeder (and the author is actually posting about how to write romances today, check it out!)
"This Lullaby" by Sara Dessen.

Plus all the paranormal romances out and about:

Beautiful CreaturesFallenVampire Diaries

"Beautiful Creatures" by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
"Fallen" by Lauren Kate.
"Vampire Diaries" by LJ Smith as seen on the CW!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Zoink! I almost forgot.

I have some new art pieces in my portfolio!

And some groovy news -- May 15 to June 15 I'll have a new art series up at the best coffee shop in West Seattle, Dubsea Coffee. It is sooooo beautiful inside and the coffee is delicious. The coffee shop is right smack dab between community centers and schools and an early learning center, so the hope is that the art opening will be kid friendly. With maybe an art making activity and frosted goodies! And they do movie nights, too. On Valentine's they are showing Harold & Maude, how cool is that?

New art pieces:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Favorite fonts from Manhattan

The café made you take an elevator to the john, but what an elevator! Could there be a cooler elevator company logo?

In between some meetings on my last full day in New York I bolted into a café because it had nice 'CAPPUCCINO' signs. I was right next to Trump Tower Park Avenue and that should have sent off alarm bells. The cappuccino was pricey, and not bad, but the clientele... Definitely out of my league. I got a couple pics of the table next to me and I'm pretty sure it was The Donald's mom and/or last wife. Not including those because I'm sure the ladies are well-lawyered.

The ceiling beams were covered in text. I don't know if that translates to Insipid Jello?

Plus nicely decorated wood posts. The tables and chairs had 1,000 layers of lacquer on them. If only I'd had my fur or my Bentley idling nearby I think I could have spent more time in there.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Who I'm Working For: Future Henny Youngmans

Team Blog waving goodbye. They only said 'wave,' not 'wave at the camera,' so I'm waving at the Coat Check Lady.

Lots of SCBWI love still floating around the kidlitosphere days after the conference is over. I'm thrilled to have been a part of Team Blog again and hope you enjoyed all our posting and tweeting. Conferences go by so fast, it is lovely to have a record of them however brief, and I cannot tell you how much we DIDN'T blog. The conference was choc-a-bloc with great stuff. We only scratched the surface. New York was all about soaking up knowledge.

And socializing with my People! Old SCBWI WWA buddies made a formidable showing in Manhattan. Happy to see new faces like Peter Brown and Julia Sarcone-Roach. Plus old favorites like darlink Betsy Bird, Esther Hershenhorn, Sydney Salter and Ann Haywood Leal. And all those groovy editors, art directors and agents that I've gotten to know by being involved with SCBWI. Not to mention the SCBWI staff and, one more time, Team Blog. I'm building them a shrine.

I got a brief howdy with my buddy G. Brian Karas, too! Those of you in need of an art class slash vacation in Italy are IN LUCK! Brian is actually teaching there this summer via Art Workshop International. AND he says he started a blog thanks in part to my nagging, so go visit!

For this Winter Conference I'm willing to go on record and say that Allyn Johnston gave one of my all-time favorite conference talks ever. You can read my post on it here. I love how she and Marla Frazee are always able to articulate what children's book making is all about. KIDS.

On the topic of kids, below is some eavesdropping I did a few afternoons ago. Most might find this tedious and maybe it's only funny if you were there, but... But it was just too exciting to see adolescent purchasing power in action. Plus "Boy" is my ideal audience–twenty years from now I could see him on the comedy circuit. And I only hope I might write or draw something someday soon that makes this guy laugh:

Boy: What's up, man? What can I get for five dollars?

What do you want for five dollars?

How about a root beer and a hot chocolate.

*Another kid walks in, let's call him "Other Guy"*

Boy sees Other Guy:
Oh, this guy! He's loaded!

*Barista gives Boy change back. Friend giggles. Boy seems surprised to have money left over*

OH... Can I get a graham cracker, too?

*Boy starts reading root beer bottle label out loud. Friend giggles*

Barista interrupts label reading:
Do you want milk chocolate or dark chocolate?

Boy waving hands like little flippers:
WHAT's this?!?

Barista sighs:
You can get milk chocolate or dark chocolate on your graham cracker.

*Boy's mind has just been blown*

Oh! Ha ha, milk chocolate.

*Boy is checking out countertop and sees tip jar*

And heeeeeeeere's some change. Heeeeeeere!

*Boy puts change in tip jar with energy -- plonk! plonk! PLONK. Friend giggles*

*Friend and Boy sit and eat sugar straight from sugar packets. A minute later, sugar and chocolate covered graham cracker have been consumed*

*They leave and Boy is holding his still sealed root beer bottle upside down like a baseball bat. Friend is catching up from behind while giggling and slorping the whipped cream off his cocoa*

Get your Wonder on with Faboo Illustrator Paul Schmid!

Over on Bound I had the pleasure of chatting with Paul Schmid.
A super groovy book trailer there, too.

Check it out!

Previously on Bound: Paul Schmid Interview

Bound is celebrating Valentine's Day early over the next few days with a count down of books! Nothin' says lovin' like books, right?

What better book to start off the Bound Valentine's Countdown than "The Wonder Book"?

Just out from author Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrator Paul Schmid this book would be a lovely gift for any age. I foresee it as a great graduation present this summer, too. You can even get a signed copy this month. Scroll down for a list of book events.

Paul was kind enough to let me barge into his studio a few days ago for a chat:

So what's your new book all about, Paul?

The author describes it as a mix between Shel Silverstein and Willy Wonka.
It's wackier and it's not just poems, it's games and things. Here's our book trailer:

Illustrator Paul Schmid, 
Photo by Linda WallaceDid you draw yourself into the book anywhere?

No?!? Are you sure?
No, ha ha, not that I'm aware of. There's very few adults in the book, there's a Dracula and a dad, but otherwise it is all kids.
It was a fun assignment because I just got the words. Very little visual direction. A few photos to clarify what the authorr was talking about, so there was a lot of room for me to play. It was just so much fun because of that. A lot of these could have gone just about anywhere.

Was it your idea to have the art be black and white?

No, it was always going to be black and white. Originally it was going to be 90 pages. It's now 80. But I love black and white. Sometimes color is just 'coloring in.'

How'd you get started in illustration?

I'm a third generation artist. My dad was a commercial artist. My grandfather was both a commercial and fine artist and my great grandfather was a Swiss watch engraver. I think I just didn't know what else I could do. I went to art school in Chicago and loved every minute of it. It was a great education, three hours of drawing in the morning and three hours of painting in the afternoon.

I bounced around to various art jobs after school. Twenty years ago I became a staff artist for The Seattle Times. I left there three years ago.

Can you name some favorite books or artists past and present?

Past: N.C. Wyeth's "Treasure Island." I can date my desire to illustrate children's books from discovering that Treasure Island in the library as a kid. It was just so powerful.
Another old favorite would be
William Heath Robinson, an English cartoonist. He did what we would call Rube Goldbergs, but in England they called them Heath Robinsons. He also did lovely pen and inks for children's books.

Treasure IslandBig Rabbit's Bad Mood
Rita and WhatsitOunce Dice Trice

For new favorites I've been looking at a lot of European children's books:
"Big Rabbit's Bad Mood" (I have that one in the original French!)
"Rita and Whatsit" Just lovely, the simple color palette works really well here.
Peter McCarty, I love him. I think he's my favorite right now. His sense of space is so powerful. And the way he plays with color.
"Ounce Dice Trice," a reissue of Ben Shahn's. In the Thirties, Shahn was a Depression-era artist/socialist/radical/poster artist.

Paul's Art School Color ChartPaul's sketches

How has technology impacted your career?

My art school was very very traditional, hand-done stuff. I still have my color chart (top left.) But when I was working at The Seattle Times, computers started coming in and I was very fortunate and got to learn on the job. I used to get frustrated because there's a detachment between you and your art... It doesn't feel very fun, I used to say "It's like doing art with a rubber on." There's a serendipity with real materials. Here (top right) Paul shares how he uses his hand drawn sketches, but photoshops in alternate arms and hands if he's unsatisfied with how the master sketch looks.

Really really important question --what's your favorite snack to eat while working on a book?

Tea and Dark chocolate. Any brand, whatever's on sale at the drugstore.

If you'd like to see what Paul's studio looks like, check out this great blog post for a tour.

Do you have any events coming up?

Yes! Secret Garden Books in Seattle is going to have a launch party for me February 24 at 7pm.

Amy is also doing book events:

February 11
Barnes & Noble Brentwood
1701 Mallory Lane
Brentwood, TN 37027

February 12
Legacy Books
7300 Dallas Parkway
Plano, TX 75024

February 18
Quail Ridge Books
3522 Wade Ave
Raleigh, NC 27607

Thanks, Paul! If you dig "The Wonder Book" illustrations you don't have to wait too long for more from Paul -- he's got three books coming out in the next couple of years, "A Pet for Petunia" comes out next January (here's a sneak peek!)
Paul Schmid Pet for