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.