Sunday, July 31, 2011

SCBWI TEAM BLOG Exclusive: Kadir Nelson

All of the illustrators doing Monday demos at the SCBWI Int'l Summer Conference have made illustrations that stick in my heart. Kadir Nelson's work fills my left ventricle. Look at all these lovely covers (if you can still see the covers, what with all the medals on them.)

Not sure what Kadir will be demo-ing, but we know it will be awesome, right?

Jaime: Hi Kadir! Who's one of your most favorite illustrators in history?

Kadir: Dean Cornwell.

Jaime: Neat! I have never heard of Dean Cornwell! I love discovering new illustrators. It's like discovering a new kind of candy. Which reminds me, do you think Steven Malk eats too much candy?

Kadir: Don't know.

Jaime: I know you made him a bobblehead doll, a fairly well documented thing Steve likes, and I believe it is also fairly well documented that he is pro-dessert. Don't feel you need to shield him from the scrutiny of the children's book blog world.

Kadir: ...

Jaime: By not answering you are proving that you are a loyal and discrete client. Well done. What's your favorite working snack?

Kadir: Water.

Jaime: I'm sorry, I fainted. Water? Like frozen with sugar and flavors? As an ingredient in a baked good? Maybe you thought I was asking what your favorite tool was, like water for diluting paint. Did you mean water is your favorite working tool?

Kadir: My favorite tool is a sable flat brush.

Jaime: So water is really consumable on it's own and not just as a necessary evil in a Slurpee? This is news to me. Final question, besides drinking "water," what do you do everyday that makes you a better artist?

Kadir: I meditate and play the game of life. 

Jaime: Thanks, Kadir! I want to point out that Kadir did not capitalize "life" in the answer above, though he may play the game of Life on occasion.

Check out Kadir's lovely studio, an image swiped from his fantastic site. And look on the Events section, Kadir's WE ARE THE SHIP art is touring! It will be at the Carle Museum starting February 2012, but is out and about around America now.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

SCBWI TEAM BLOG Exclusive: Paul Zelinsky

The goodness of the Illustrators' Intensive just keeps increasing exponentially. Paul Zelinsky wowed us with his magic camera contraption at the Winter Conference, and he's heading to LA to do a live demonstration. When I asked Paul for a hint of what he'd be sharing, he got downright poetical.

First, Paul's books, check out all those award-bedecked covers below. His pictures are as lovely in print as they are in person. If you have a chance to see Paul's work in a gallery, go for it! Some of his work came to my town: I saw pieces from AWFUL OGRE'S AWFUL DAY and am happy to say Paul Zelinsky's responsible for alerting me to the incredibleness of E. Nesbit after I heard him talk about the art he made for THE ENCHANTED CASTLE.

Jaime: Hiya, Paul, can you give us a hint of what you'll be demo-ing in LA?

Paul: The technique I'll be demonstrating in the Intensive will be linked to the topic of my talk during the regular conference

Or, as a haiku:

Intensive technique
using oils for fairy tales
very intensely 

Jaime: Super! What is your favorite non-Olympic sport? Your favorite smell? Your favorite bachelor on the current The Bachelorette? What is your favorite Cadbury product? What do you do every day that makes you a better artist?

Paul: I have to say that I have an aversion to, and a near-complete inability to respond to, questions about my favorite anything. Those are four really hard questions for me, and the fifth is even harder, because I not only don't have an answer to it, I have no faith that I wake up a better artist any day, much less every day. And I don't do anything to promote or demote myself. I suppose the mere act of waking up will make me a person with more life experience than the last time I've woken up, and perhaps that translates into being a better artist. I don't think so, though!

Jaime: Yes, yes, yes, I switched those first four questions! I asked Paul what I asked all the other live-demo illustrators and not having favorites is fine by me. And can't we agree that Paul's last non-answer is actually a wonderful answer? And though he may not have the faith he's waking up a better artist every day, we kidlit people have that faith for him in spades. Spades means up the wazoo, right?

Check out Paul's fabulous studio. If you follow him on Twitter, you'd see some fun photos of his studio view, which is of a street popular with movie makers...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

SCBWI TEAM BLOG Exclusive: Jerry Pinkney

Hey #kidlitart fans. A reminder that for those attending the Illustrators Intensive at the SCBWI International Summer Conference, you'll see this guy do a painting demo: The Jerry Pinkney. Excited isn't the word.

Here's a quick slide show of Jerry's book covers. Though, while I was grabbing all these images, I had to take a break, my mouse died, so many good books!

I'm already planning a pilgrimage in 2012 to one of the galleries slated to exhibit Jerry's latest show, WITNESS. It was at the Norman Rockwell Museum until May—check out this incredible summary of the show I swiped from Jerry's site:

Witness presents an overview of fifty years of a varied career as a designer and illustrator. This retrospective consists of 150 watercolors, process drawings, dummy books, reference photographs, and also a museum provided video along with inter active displays. There is a companion eighty page catalog with essays by Leonard S. Marcus, Gerald L. Early, Ph.D., Steven Heller, as well as Stephanie, Joyce, and myself. My essay titled Call and Response offers up the building blocks of how I became the artist I am today. The exhibition will currently be traveling to the Flint Institute of Art, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Hudson River Museum, High Museum of Art and the African American Museum in Dallas. 

Some quick questions with Jerry to get us inspired:

Jaime: Hi Jerry! What's your favorite tool?

Jerry: 2B pencil

Jaime: Classic! (Editor's note: Though I will venture that Jerry's 2Bs are made of holly and have phoenix feather cores.) Favorite working snack?

Jerry: Walnuts and Almonds

Jaime: (Editor's note: I know, this is hard to understand. There are too few words above. I'm sure Jerry meant Walnut CAKE. And Almond BRITTLE. He's a busy guy, I'm happy to correct him.) Who is your favorite illustrator in history?

Jerry: Arthur Rackham

Jaime: Hooray! Arthur Rackham has 2,233 Likes on Facebook. Thank heavens you can't Poke someone on a Facebook Page because I can only imagine that poking the ghost of Arthur Rackham would make him angry. Though it might be nice to be haunted by the ghost of Rackham, he might hover over your shoulder and tell you if your sketch is off. Right?

Moving on.

Favorite up and coming illustrator?

Jerry: Kadir Nelson

Jaime: Up-and-coming! With at least two Caldecott Honors, and a Sibert, and a Coretta Scott King, and his art on US postage stamps I will agree, Kadir is up-and-coming, he's practically in the stratosphere. And Kadir'll be presenting a live demo at the Illustrators' Intensive, too!

Final question: What do you do every day that makes you a better artist?

Jerry: I have hundreds of publications on the art of illustrators, painters, printmakers, and photographers.  At some point in most working days you will find me scanning my bookshelves searching for that right book to set my creative juices flowing.

Jaime: Lovely. I am adding to my library of art books as I type. Thank you, Jerry! His website is a treasure trove of information, too. Please go wander around it. And check out Jerry's new-ish studio, beautiful: