Friday, February 19, 2010


Well, my revisions are off to my editor! I am using this little break to recharge my creative batteries, and what timing. As you may know, my new book is about the Olympics, and this year has not been short on inspiration:

Simply spectacular. 

I am a big big fan of the photo reference, probably due in part to RISD's fantastic image library. Now I do most of my photo reference searches online. I use them both for, say, figuring out how to draw an elephant- but sometimes, also for plain old inspiration. Besides the Olympics, these photos have been lighting my fire recently:

Neil Diamond- my first crush.

Enjoy the Olympics, everyone- and GO FOR THE GOLD!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bea is a feminist!

Look how excited she is!

I recently learned that Bea Rocks the Flock is on the 2010 Amelia Bloomer list of feminist books for young readers. Yay! Ewe power! Although frankly, I think it may be due to this chica here:

Thanks to the Amelia Bloomer Project for including Bea- and check out the whole list here!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Revision time

So, I have some revisions due next week for my new picture book. Would you like to know what the revision process looks like for me? Well, it looks a little something like this:

Dummies galore. Those were the major dummies for Bea Rocks the Flock- countless minor text and art changes notwithstanding. So those dummies took a year or two to add up. I'm in my first round of revisions for Olympig! (publication date 2012), so I thought I'd take you on a magical romp through my revision process!

My first dummy:

So, after my editor acquired the book, she sat down and wrote a long and detailed editorial letter. This letter details specific problem areas, sections that are unclear, etc, etc. Lots of people have asked me, "Vicki, do you resent taking direction from an editor in your own book?" The answer is NO, I don't. I thought of this analogy last night, and I'm quite proud of it:

Working with an editor is like going shopping with a friend with excellent taste who knows you and your style well. Well, maybe "shopping friend" isn't exactly what I mean- I mean like Tim Gunn, or someone who REALLY knows their game. When I go shopping (usually 2 times per year, max), I tend to reach for the same items over and over again. That is how I happen to own 4 gray sweaters at the moment. But when you shop with your Tim Gunn-esque friend, she may point you in the direction of a sparkly fuschia top that you never, ever in a million years would have thought to try on. And guess what- you try on that shirt and you LOVE it! Likewise, when I come across a stumbling block in a story, I'll often revert to a tired old solution I've used a million times before- but the clear vision of a skilled editor can point me to solutions that are so much better. Sometimes the suggestions don't work, but all in all, it is so, so helpful to have a skilled opinion there with you in the fitting room. And at the end of the day, to take or to not take that advice- and how you pull off the look- is up to you.

There! I thought that was a pretty good analogy! So my editor's main advice was that my text was too hard to read. I had lots of word balloons that I thought were fun- but would make it hard to read aloud and follow the story. This is my old page 8- and it's important, because it's the first time we "meet" Boomer the Porcine Athlete:

Some important points get lost up there in those bubbles. Here's the revision I did- I still think it's a little wordy, but hopefully I can work on that:

An editor also has a keen eye for detail. I failed to really think about the fact that I used a gorilla for two separate events, and she thought (and I agree) that it would be better to mix it up. So I kept Gorilla in the wrestling scene, but he got cut from weightlifting:

Anyhoo, that's what I'm up to now! It's a fun part of the process for me, because I get excited when I realize how much better the story is getting!