Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Book Launch Par-tay!

Katie Davis, author of The Curse of Addy McMahon, is hosting a book launch party tomorrow night! Get all of the hot party details here!

I thought my little contribution to the party could be a memory-lane scrapbook, like the slideshows set to Billy Joel for the senior prom. But THIS scrapbook won't contain embarrassing photos from the French Club or the Math Team (yes, I was a member of both)- but is rather a photographic journey of how this book jacket came to be.

The first jacket! It was decided that more colors were needed, a little more levity.

So, I added the firebolt-weilding fairies (from an interior illustration), and some colorful comic book-y panels, since Addy keeps a graphic novel-esque journal. Great! Everyone loves it! I breathe a great sigh of relief and move on to the next project. My work here is done.

... OR SO I THOUGHT! Months later, I get the message that every designer dreads. "_________ doesn't like the jacket. We need something new." I don't actually remember at this point who objected to the jacket... Sales? B & N? Doesn't matter, someone came to the conclusion that "comic book-looking novels don't sell" (take note, Marvel, DC). So back to square one, this time with the added bonus of a ticking clock!

Kept the fairies & the cloud, lost the panels..

Lost the fairies, added photographic girl.

86 photograph, sub cartoon girl! Much discussion as to whether 3 clouds were better than one.

In the end, we went with the single cloud, and as a final step, decided that Addy was not the kind of girl to have appliques on her jeans (this was an attempt to "girlify" the figure).

And that's all she wrote! Now the jacket is immortalized on any number of accessories (available as door prizes at the party!)

BTW, Katie Davis is not the first ad-savvy author to promote her book via clothing. Jody Feldman dropped by the offices the other week & handed out these sweet tees:

Or, if this were a teen, not middle grade novel, it might look like this:

(And, of course, the tees would be spaghetti-strapped and midriff-baring. FYI, future product, Jody!)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New England SCBWI!

...Rocked! I attended the conference this past weekend as a guest critiquer. So inspirational. And fun! The weekend started off with a dinner & cabaret on Friday night.

Quite obviously, I am about the worst photographer in the world. But, it just shows to go you, the frenetic energy of the room could not be captured on film!

Saturday was filled with one-on-one portfolio reviews, 15 minutes apiece. It's a funny thing, doing portfolio reviews- I mean really, who am I to say what someone should or should not be doing with their artwork? But, I tried to do the same things that I've found helpful when sitting on the other side of the table: pointing out which pieces I respond most strongly to; pieces I don't respond to; pieces that I could see fitting in with the Greenwillow list, etc. I don't think that one portfolio review should be the end all, be all in deciding which direction to take your work, by any means. It's definitely helped me to get as many people as possible to look at my portfolio. That way, I've learned which pieces in my portfolio are more universally appealing, what many publishers don't like (googly eyes), what they'd like to see more of. My advice? Get as many opinions on your portfolio as possible (and I'm not talking your friends or family here, because they'll always say everything's great!)

Sunday, I had the great fortune of being selected to help lead an "Illustrators Academy" workshop. My other co-leaders were Susan Sherman, Art Director at Charlesbridge; Brian Lies, author/illustrator of "Bats at the Beach" (among many others); and Lita Judge, author/illustrator of "One Thousand Tracings" (among many others).Who was the rookie of the group?? Me!! Me!! But all three of these people were so down-to-earth and downright nice that I wasn't even intimidated!

Until, of course, Lita and Brian did their slide presentation of their working process. My GOODNESS!
I (along with everyone else in the room) had to scoop their jaws off the floor. I had seen many of their books before, of course, but maybe it was seeing the paintings large-scale from the projector-- I don't know, but both of their work is simply breathtaking. And both have books coming out soon (by publishing standards), so keep an eye out!

The rest of the day (actually, it preceded the presentations) was spent mostly in a large group critique. Everyone brought in one piece of art, and the four of us spent 10-15 minutes talking in-depth about the piece, with all four of us adding our opinions. I found it fascinating, and I hope the attendees felt the same way. As a bonus, no one left the room crying, as was the case in many of the group crits I participated in at RISD!

To sum up: the conference was super-organized, I met a lot of great and talented people, and I came home invigorated & inspired. Besides rhythm and music (which, let's face it, I GOT), who could ask for anything more?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More kid sketches

From the Baby Couture collection...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Drawing Kids

So I'm sitting in my dentist's office the other day, leafing through the magazine stack. Motor Trend or Family Fun. Tough choice. (I chose Family Fun). And I realized, being child-deficient myself, that kids magazines are a pretty good source of photo references of kids! Not better than drawing from life, but should tide me over until it's nice enough to hang out around the playground, looking slightly pervy. Lucky thing I'm a woman. How do other childless illustrators draw from life? (Anybodeee? Anybodeee?)

So I did these sketches from my newly-purchased copies of Family Fun and Baby Couture ("We Put the 'coo' in Couture". No joke, that's their slogan). It was pretty fun to bring those magazines home to give my fiance (of all of 2 months) a heart attack.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Illustration Friday: SAVE

I've been looking at Illustration Friday for a while now, but this is the first time I've participated!
This week's theme is "Save". My mom used to save all sorts of things for us to use for arts & crafts...
toilet paper rolls, styrofoam plates from McDonalds, big baskets of fabric, you name it.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

When Life Imitates Art

Fluffy Bea:

Shaved-Up Bea:

Fluffy Sharon:

Shaved-Up Sharon:

Also, Sharon's haircut style is officially called the "Lion Cut", which also carries significance with the story of Bea (but one that I feel unable to divulge at the moment).