Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy belated birthday, Julia!

I meant to celebrate it with more gustatorial gusto. BUT there is still time to eat and drink well this weekend. And what a lovely note to receive—that Ewelia Child was featured in a Julia-inspired Etsy Treasury! I have my big eyeball on that butter and cream quote as well as that butter crock...

Thank you, Beth Mason/kasintehty!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sketching at the airport

Put some new sketches up on my Tumblr. Like this one from our pre-flight hours at LAX on Tuesday, this little boy was orbiting around his luggage. He got an enormous Gatorade, and then promptly crashed.

I love seeing other illustrators' airport sketches. Debbie Ohi uses her iPad at the airport, and Dan Santat has a lovely new Tumblr site!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

SCBWI TEAM BLOG Exclusive: Richard Jesse Watson

The last of the SCBWI Summer Conference pre-interviews is with my favorite children's book family patriarch, none other than local hero Richard Jesse Watson. Richard is incredibly talented and JUST as kind as he is talented, which is pretty freaking amazing.

Here are his lovely book covers. You can't tell from the slideshow that he did the art for THE BOY WHO WENT APE on elephant poop paper, but HE DID. Read more about that and many other toothsome posts at Richard's blog.

Jaime: RICHARRRRRRD! What are you doing for the demo?

Richard: I will crack an egg and paint with it. In other words, demonstrating egg tempera in combination with mixed medium.   

Jaime: Delicious! Who is your favorite illustrator in history?

Richard: Some of my favorite illustrations are petroglyphs or other "primitive" imagery such as the Lascaux Cave paintings. These wordless pictures still speak volumes after thousands of years. 

Jaime: Maybe we could organize an SCBWI field trip to there. Favorite up and coming illustrator?

Richard: Renata Liwska, illustrator of The Quiet Book.

Jaime: Ooo, I love her! Your favorite working snack? There's been a lot of confusion in these past pre-interviews with the other illustrators' answers. I realized too late that professional illustrators speak in code. For example, if an illustrator says their favorite snack is nuts or legumes, that really translates to gummy bears and sour candies. Further, if someone says they like vegetables, they mean baked goods. Fruits are code for milkshakes and sundaes. So, Richard, what's your favorite working snack?

From Jay Asher's blog:
Richard: Radishes.

Jaime: Let me just look that one up... Ah, yes! Radishes = Donuts. Yum! What is your favorite tool? Again, there's been some confusion in the past. In this instance, Tool ≠ Dan Santat, but something like a paint brand or paper type.

Richard: #5 DaVinci Maestro Toblosky-Kolinsky watercolour brush.

Jaime: Ain't that a mouthful. Final question, (and thank you, Richard, I have never seen anybody paint with egg tempera and I can't wait to see your demo—so excited!) what do you do everyday that makes you a better artist?

Richard: On first waking up I visualize imagery and books that I want to make. Even if the images are soupy or primordial, the essence of them will eventually crawl out onto the shore to take on a life of their own. Every day I also jot down story ideas and sketch those "Help-me-Obi-Wan,-you're-my-only-hope" fleeting images. I also try to go for a walk to put everything in perspective.

Jaime: To jot down your story ideas do you use a pen that you keep in a jar-jar?

Richard: ...

Jaime: Sorry, I shouldn't have mentioned that. To end on a better note, LOCAL FOLKS of Washington, if you want to get some good schooling in the art of picture book writing, Richard is holding a weekend workshop! Any price would be reasonable, and the location is perfect, too.

Below are two shots of Richard's amazing studio:

SEE YOU ALL IN L.A., EVERYBODY! Head to the Official Conference Blog starting Friday. Between now and Friday, check out Alice, Lee, Suzanne, Martha, and Jolie's pre-conference interviews, too!






Alessandra Balzer:

Steven Malk:

Julie Strauss-Gabel






Laurie Halse Anderson:

Mary Pope Osbourne:

First-time attendees:



Monday, August 1, 2011

SCBWI TEAM BLOG: Denise Fleming in Los Angeles! A mini-soap box moment!

Summer Conference Attendees, drink your electrolyte enhanced waters, please, because you are meeting Denise Fleming this week and she is a dynamo.

SCBWI Western Washington locals had the good fortune to meet Denise in 2007, she led a retreat weekend for us with the inimitable Darcy Pattison. I don't think Denise went to bed that entire weekend, she was up all day leading hands-on workshops, and up all night giving beyond-the-call-of-duty manuscript critiques and/or making fake boogers out of rubber cement.

Super Denise and SCBWI WWA ARA Kim Baker

I can count two of my daily illustration practices as directly inspired from Denise's critique of my work and her workshops, so I thank her for that everyday. AND for how to make rubber cement boogers, they stick so well to your nostrils!

At our retreat, Denise focused on picture book writing and illustrating for the very young, and I am thrilled to see she's covering those topics at the Summer Conference. BUT, don't be fooled. Her tips and techniques work if you are writing or illustrating picture books for the... very old young, too.

Most of you know Denise creates her art using a paper pulp painting method which usually needs a whole studio's worth of gear. I don't know if she'll be doing that for her demo, but whatever she does, I know it will be incredible.

Check out Denise's process-rich website and consider getting her super cool junior autobiography.

Like the Hyatt Hotel soaps soap-sized box.

There's nothing junior about the Meet The Author series, if you are a fan of any of the authors—Lois Ehlert! James Howe! Janet Wong! They are fine reference books for new writers. Denise's is very charming.

The MtA series is rivaled only by the out-of-print SELF-PORTRAIT series which I would pay a zillion dollars to see started up again. In fact, ALL of the illustrators doing demos next Monday would make great additions to the SELF-PORTRAIT series. I have Trina Schart Hyman, Erik Blegvad, and Margot Zemach's. They are small, fully illustrated picture book autobiographies. They are gorgeous and personal and perfect, and it's a dirty shame they aren't being made today. SHAME, I SAY!