Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Holidays Already! Sale on Etsy Right Now:

I never know what day it is, so my Cocoastomp CYBER MONDAY ETSY started yesterday!

**********CYBER MONDAY ETSY**********
Use coupon code CYBERMON12 anytime between 11/23/12 and 11/26/12 to receive 20% off your order! 

**********FREE SHIPPING ETSY**********
Also for the month of November use coupon code NOV12FREESHIP for all domestic orders, too.

**********SANDY DONATIONS**********
I ♥ NY & NJ and it is the season to give back! With every purchase made from now until December 31st, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to OccupySandy.

Oodles of holiday cards, prints, kitchen-y things, kid-friendly art, and more up soon at Cocoastomp on Etsy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween! Free Halloween Card for You!

I was playing around with ink last week, thanks to being all fired up and inspired by the incredibly talented Raina Telgemeier. I used some nibs, but Raina uses a brush, and talk about mastering your medium! I don't know how she does it, but even her line work with a cheap jumbo marker has a fluid, brushy, lyrical quality.
Raina drawing on the back of some wrapping paper, it still looks like a million bucks!

As you can tell, I'm a huge fan of her work, and you should be, too! If you haven't read SMILE or DRAMA or her adaptations of Ann Martin's Babysitters series, go out and buy them pronto.

The inking I did:

Above are the beginning illustrations of the Pease Porridge nursery rhyme. I wanted these three little scenes to be in some fun, card format, and was looking at all sorts of pop-ups, but man, most pop-ups are expensive to make and mail. This isn't really a pop-up, but it will sit-up, and it mails flat in an A9 envelope which takes standard postage. To make the final artwork you see in the pdf below, I used the scanning and sandwich method of ink plus digital color as outlined in Matt Madden and Jessica Abel's two DRAWING WORDS & WRITING PICTURES and MASTERING COMICS. I love those books!

If you, too, would like to make a wee Halloween carousel card, this is my cheap, tawdry, home-printer ready version of those lovely old carousel books.

My little Halloween scenes stand up on their own two feet... or pages. 
A real carousel book of Sleeping Beauty from the Smithsonian website.

The first scene

If you have cardstock, you can print on that double-sided, but if you only have regular copy paper, you'll want to glue these onto a heavier piece of construction paper or something. If printing on cardstock and doing the double-sided printing yourself, be sure you put the top of the first side back in correctly so it prints back to back with the top of the second side. You can cut off a 1/4 inch of margin on all outer sides of the paper once they are printed.
The second scene standing up, and a chance to show off my eyeball lights
The third scene
The interior cut marks on the pdf are a little shy of what you'll need depending on what sort of paper you print on, you can snip the teensiest bit more and test if the pieces lock into place correctly.
The last scene is for you! With space to write a name, or your greeting to a friend! In this case, my dog.

Happy Halloween, everybody! 
I will leave you with spooky air plants which look great with eyeball lights:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Miss Downton Abbey

Unless you're Abby Normal or live in England, you are probably also missing this show. I would really like to be buttled, how about you?

Is that the sort of duster known as a french tickler?

Who will decant my sherry?
No new shows until January! 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Winner of Conference Books Announced!

Packing my things for a hop across the state to SCBWI Eastern Washington/Northern Idaho's Fall Conference.

It's been a wild few weeks and I'm so excited to put my picturebook thinking cap on and talk about revision with those excellent folks out east.

And with me I'm bringing a box of books—one edited, agented, written or illustrated by each faculty member—for....

Beth Cooley! 

Beth, your name was randomly chosen from the comments on this post. I'll have the books for you at the conference, so be sure to come and say hi and claim your prize. I may also have a bag of gummy bears.

I may have already opened the bag of gummy bears...


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Illustration Loves

There are so many inspiring talents in the illustration world right now, here are a few of my current favorites:

Meg Hunt. I would love to take a class from her! Such fantastic style and wild patterns.
From Meg Hunt's website

Claire Keane. Holy moly, that This American Life animation, plus all her amazing work with Disney, the picture of her with the Rapunzel mural reminds me of a similarly lovely lady's, Mary Blair with her Small World art. I got to hear Claire's dad give a lecture once, what a cool family.
From Claire Keane's website

Emily Carroll. She's got some of the best online comics around, and her palettes blow me away.
From Emily Carroll's website

Greg Pizzoli. How does he do it! I love his screen prints and cheerful characters. If I could uproot to Philadelphia, I'd be taking his screen printing class first thing.
From Greg Pizzoli's website

Jennifer Mann. I am so excited for you to see her forthcoming books! I love her use of texture and her willingness to try any paper, pen, paint, you name it, to make her art sing.
From Jennifer Mann's website

And my new obsession is rereading Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain, but finding them with the Evaline Ness covers. I, too, had the ones Betsy Bird remembers fondly as a kid, but man, those Ness ones are entrancing. See them in all their scanned glory at Daughter Number Three's blog.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy 100th, Julia!

This spring and summer I watched a lot of old Julia Child episodes. The omelette episode definitely transformed my life.
Ewelia Child available in my Cocoastomp Etsy Shop!

Not because she serves rosé with her omelette lunches, a mind-bogglingly French luxury, and not because her simple technique using three ingredients turned me from an omelette hater into an omelette evangelist. Julia's omelettes take only 30 seconds to make, but in doing some research on Julia, she probably spent 17 hours practicing for that simple dish and show, making sure she had squeezed every possible insight and benefit out of herself in order to share the world's greatest omelette making show ever with her audience.

I love how hard Julia worked to master her art and I love how her personality shines through in everything she did. She's a hero, I'm slapping some chicken around tonight in her honor.

To celebrate her birthday, check out these lovely Julia Child picture books: Minette's Feast by Susanna Reich and Amy Bates; Bon Appetit: The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland.

And if you need some Julia on your wall, I am happy to offer Ewelia Child prints in my Etsy shop (may I make a sheep dip recipe joke here?) Now through August 31st, use the coupon code JULIA100 to receive free shipping on any items in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pre-#LA12SCBWI Interview with Jarvis Braun

It's probably a great honor to get to chat with Jarvis Braun, senior editor at two HarperCollins imprints (Walden Pond Press and Balzer + Bray) and a speaker at the upcoming SCBWI Summer Conference. Here's my interview with him:

Jaime: Hello, Jarvis Braun! Thanks so much for agreeing to speak with me, but I only have a few minutes, though, before I need to interview someone more important. Are you going to get all high up on your grammar horse as an editor and edit this interview, Jarvis?

Jarvis: No, but my name is Jordan, not Jarvis. Jordan Brown.

Jaime: AHA! That makes more sense, I wondered why you weren't on the faculty list.  GUYS READ: THE SPORTS PAGES is out, edited by you, "Jordan Brown," and Jon Scieszka. Eating is sometimes a sport. Would you rather eat a tablespoon (no chaser allowed) of the hottest chili pepper powder known to man OR a tablespoon of Jon Scieszka's tears (100% sadness tears)?

Jarvis/Jordan: I’d probably go with a tablespoon of Scieszka’s tears.  Good luck collecting them, though.  I think the guy has only cried about six of them in his life thus far, total.  Dude is made of granite.  I saw someone give him an Indian burn for like ten seconds once – nuthin’.
Jaime: Not surprising, really, when you're that old, most of your nerves are dead. What is your favorite working snack?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Deborah Underwood: THE QUIET INTERVIEW Part 2 of 2 for Pre-#LA12SCBWI

Below is Part Two of my pre-conference interview with Deborah Underwood. If you know me, you'll know Part One of this interview was very hard to pull off as I'm terrible at being quiet, so thank heavens we can be loud for this half.
grabbed from her website, thank you!

Again, Deborah Underwood, author of award-winning picture books, nonfiction, and chapter books, let me ask her a few questions in preparation for the upcoming SCBWI Summer Conference. She's the coolest!

Jaime: Hi Deborah, you have a ton of fantastic, thoughtful interviews linked to at your site already, so I'd like to point readers there to learn more about you, but a few questions that haven't been covered are  below. #1: Do you have a favorite new writing tool?

Deborah: Does a tool that I got last year count as new? If so, my iPad. It's so nice not to have to lug my computer to a cafe if I want to write (I bring a small external keyboard along, too). If it needs to be newer, I bought a chocolate bar yesterday and I'm hoping the little bit that's left will fuel my writing tonight.

Jaime: The iPad counts, as does the chocolate! Speaking of writing, can you tell us what you are working on right now?

Deborah Underwood: THE QUIET INTERVIEW - Part 1 of 2 for Pre-#LA12SCBWI

OVERJOYED! To be interviewing the multi-talented Deborah Underwood.
From Deborah's site

Below is Part One of our interview. Deborah's keynote for the #LA12SCBWI conference is titled The Power of Quiet, so my questions were asked using different kinds of quiet, and Deborah responded in kind.

Jaime:                                                                                    ?



Jaime:                         !                                              


                         ;                                                   .

Jaime:                                     .                                                                               ?

Deborah:                              ?

Jaime:                    —                        ...?

Deborah:  "                                     "                          .

Jaime:                                !!!

Deborah:                  ! 

Check back soon for Part Two of my interview with Deborah, 
which was done at a much greater volume.

Pre-#LA12SCBWI Interview Roundup!

My favorite #kidlit event of the year is coming up, the SCBWI International Summer Conference in Los Angeles. We are so lucky to have this stupendous summer camp for adults, and every year, the faculty is top notch (except for those years when Jon Scieszka is around, those years I block out and don't know what notch to put them in).
I am not allowed to remember when this was taken,
but that's clearly evil shooting out of Scieszka's head and not the gently setting L.A. sun
But more on Jon's nefariousness later. Today, I want to make sure you are all reading the stellar pre-conference interviews being done by SCBWI Team Blog:

Martha Brockenbrough, author of DEVINE INTERVENTION, has already done two interviews, one with editor Arthur Levine, and one with conference keynoter Gary Schmidt. You'd have to be a real chump to ignore these links (and if you haven't read MONDAY IS ONE DAY or OKAY FOR NOW yet, you'd better!)

Saucy Suzanne Young, whose latest A WANT SO WICKED (the answer is not Twinkies) just released, has a lovely interview with editor Ari Lewin of G.P. Putnam's/Penguin.

And our fearless leeder, Lee Wind, interviews the dynamo Sonya Sones, author of WHAT MY MOTHER DOESN'T KNOW and other impeccable verse novels.

I've got some interviews coming up shortly, too!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Eastern WA/Northern ID Conference in September and Book Giveaway!

Fun news, friends!

I'm over the moon to be on the faculty of the 8th Annual Eastern Washington/Northern Idaho SCBWI Fall Conference, and though it doesn't happen until September 29th, Early Bird Registration (with a fabulous discount, details below) ends July 14th, so hurry and register to take advantage of this great deal.
Let me jump-start your dreams with FREE BOOKS!!!

Check out the sweet, sweet faculty:

Agent Jill Corcoran of the Herman Agency, who reps awesome authors like Martha Brockenbrough and Robin Mellom.

Editor Stacey Barney of Penguin/Putnam, who edits similarly awesome authors like Sara Wilson Etienne and Kristin Levine.

Author Kelly Milner Halls. It's a fact, her nonfiction books kick ass.

Fantastic fantasy writer Maureen McQuerry.

And me!

To make things even sweeter, if you plan on registering or have registered for this conference, leave a comment on this post by July 21st and you'll be entered to win the conference faculty prize pack of books pictured below:

That includes a copy of HATCHLINGS, DEVINE INTERVENTION, THE PECULIARS, HARBINGER, and the gigantor HOUSE OF FASHION DESIGN STUDIO activity kit and books. Leave a comment on this post by 7/21/12, winner will be chosen at random, I will mail all these books to you! Henry the VIII teapot on right not included. Paper mustaches on left also not included, though I will throw one in if you really need one.

Can't wait for September, and let me know if you plan on being there.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Join me this summer in Seattle

It's that time of year again! When it's light out in Seattle for more hours of the day than not, a perfect time to do extra work on a project near and dear to your heart, like:
  • Growing the world's largest zucchini
  • Pogosticking across America
  • Trying every flavor of ice cream sold in the grocery store by your house
  • Developing an action plan to form your own evil empire.
  • Making a picture book
I'm not saying you can't do ALL of the above this summer, nor do I think they're mutually exclusive. While I do wish there were more indie/small-scale evil empires around town, I can really only help you move forward with the last project above.

This summer, June 19 to July 12, I'll be teaching ILLUSTRATING CHILDREN'S PICTURE BOOKS at the University of Washington. As a former attendee, I don't feel like a total dip saying it was my favorite class when Brenda Z. Guiberson was teaching it, and I try very hard to make it as fantastic as she did.

In eight classes, beginners and seasoned picture book makers alike will complete a picture book dummy.

If you're new to picture books and want to give them a try, this is the class for you.

If you think you know how to make a picture book, but you're stuck on a project, this class will help figure out what's been holding you back. You've heard all those golden picture book rules before, you say? Ask yourself, am I following all of them? Will it hurt to be reminded of them? If you've been having trouble practicing picture book making regularly and/or frequently, this class will help you commit to a summer of butt in chair!

This class will introduce you to key picture book making concepts, or help you dig a little deeper on what you think you already know.

There are still spots left in the class, be sure to register soon, click to visit class details and registration info.

Guest speakers include: Author/Illustrator Ben Clanton and University Book Store Children's Book Buyer Lauren Mayer.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Work and Play and Play at Work

A few months ago I got to hear three talented and inspiring artists speak at the Society of Illustrators, the incredibles Jillian Tamaki, Lisa Hanawalt, and Eleanor Davis.

You'll know all of them by their exceptional work. Jillian's luminous and fluid illustrations all over the place, her comics, her unbelievable embroidery covers for Penguin.
One of Jillian's Penguin Threads covers

Lisa's flipping hilarious work for her own comics, NYT, Hairpin, and now Lucky Peach.
Lisa's ode to The Bachelor

Eleanor's pitch perfect pieces ranging from the TOTALLY AWESOME Secret Science Alliance and Stinky to NYT illustrations, and now a cookbook.
Eleanor's super comic!

Eleanor in NYT!

It was worth the trip to New York to see these three ladies kicking ass and taking names in the field of illustration. They're so very good at their jobs and unique in their perspectives. The main takeaway from the talk (other than you must have been either obsessed with horses or manga as a child to secure success as an illustrator) was that most of the new, big work they end up getting hired for comes out of work they'd done for personal art projects.

One thing Eleanor said during the talk that I loved, her line about drawing boobs —  If you want to draw boobs, draw boobs! It should be a plaque in every school's art room (and bathroom).

Jillian also made cookies. I am sad I cannot kidnap her and bring her to Seattle.

Another incredible lady I got to see recently that I would totally Three Robbers, too, is Melissa Sweet.

She's pretty darn amazing, I am so happy Western Washington got to hear her speak at our conference, and I'm thrilled she'll be in LA at the SCBWI International Summer Conference. I could listen to her talk about art and writing all day, every day. Melissa is always trying new things, taking classes, getting excited about art, diving into subjects and characters that interest her like Mr. Sarg. Check out this lovely interview Lee Wind did with Melissa in honor of her winning this year's Golden Kite Award for illustration.

Golden Kite Award Winner 2012!

These ladies are inspiring my summer work, thanks to all of them for being so generous with their talent, time and thoughts at these different events.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Me Got Pet!

Tammi Sauer was totally lovely BEFORE she brought me a present, but after she gifted me amazing things, well, Tammi's achieved triple stars of awesomeness.

I am the very proud recipient of a signed copy of her hilarious and sweet new book with Bob Shea, ME WANT PET!

And on top of that, Tammi gave me a pet! I named it Dan Santat.

Sadly, Dan is exceptionally naughty and has spent a lot of time being grounded and/or in time out. I'm looking at sending him to a military academy, but since we know what sort of adults kids that attend such academies turn into, I might try homeschooling instead. Or perhaps I will just embed Dan into my patio.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Thanks, SCBWI and everybody!

2012 has already proven to be a very interesting year. I'd like to take a moment to express some whopping wads of gratitude:

I am very thankful for my friends
I am very thankful for my super agent (and a friend), Stephen Barr
I am very thankful for Lisa Lutz and Simon & Schuster BFYR and my first ever picture book with them coming out next year
I am very thankful for coffee
I am very thankful for SCBWI. The 21st Annual SCBWI WWA conference is nearly put to bed and I loved every faculty member, volunteer, attendee, valet and audio/visual technician involved with making it a great conference
I am thankful for raspberries, be they the noun kind or the verb kind
I am thankful for baby wombats*
I am thankful for dinners consisting entirely of candy*
*These items brought to you by Lisa Lutz, read THE SPELLMAN FILES, already. Lisa was just in the NYT magazine, too.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fun with shelves

Some of the background elements for Lisa Lutz's HOW TO NEGOTIATE EVERYTHING.

Beet It and How Wheat It Is are my favorites.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Warts and all

If you love a book, do you reread it and buy it in all possible formats—e-book, audiobook, pop-up, scratch-and-sniff, see-through? I am on my way to doing that with T.H. White's THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING.

My grandfather read it to me when I was a kid (and teen), and I've got a copy of a TOAFK audiobook on my phone (with a narrator that's almost as good as my grandfather). Reviews aren't my strong suit, but there's something about this book! I found an old review of it online in the 1958 December issue of THE ROTARIAN that felt right (also the super charmingness of a magazine called THE ROTARIAN with an equally charmful cover by a Dane named Paul Høyrup):

From googlebooks, cover by Paul Høyrup

Review by John T. Frederick
I don't have any illustrated copies of TOAFK, and the books are so full of brilliant images, it's been fun to wonder what chapter headers would look like. I jotted down some favorite phrases while listening this week and tried to have fun with a pencil (the moat one's more of a feeling than a correct excerpt, so let's call it a moot moat quote):

How can you not love Archimedes?

I was thinking she confused Astrolabe for Astrolobe? I guess  this is only funny if you know you look through an astrolabe, and that it doesn't belong in your ear.

A fish or an amphibian with long arms is nothing I want to cuddle.