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:



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