I was recently tagged by the wonderful Courtney Pippin-Mathur to participated in a global book tour called The Next Big Thing. The idea originated in Australia and is basically a cool way for authors and/or illustrators to promote their next or latest book.
On to the questions!
1) What is the working title of your next book?
The title of the latest book I illustrated is "Goodnight Baseball" (Capstone Young Readers, March 2013).
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
"Goodnight Baseball" book was wonderfully written by Michael Dahl, but I can tell you some of the ideas that went into the illustrations! The book is written in a way that evokes childhood memories of a day at the ballpark, so the Art Director really wanted to incorporate an overall vintage look to the book while keeping it contemporary at the same time. One of the main ways we decided to do this, was to use a color palette similar to that of old baseball cards and other baseball ephemera.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
The book is definitely a picture book aimed at little ones aged 4-8. It's a perfect bedtime read!
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Oooh! Such a great question! There's only two main characters: I think the dad would be played well by Adam Sandler (not in super-silly mode) and I'm sure there's no shortage of cute little boys out there who would be ideal to play the main character!
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
"Goodnight Baseball" is a warm and gentle book portraying the bond between a boy and his dad as they create life-long memories during a day at the ballpark.
6) Who is publishing your book?
Capstone Young Readers published the book in March of 2013.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
From the illustration end, this book was done on a pretty quick turnaround. It was somewhere in the region of three months from start to finish.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There are a few books "Goodnight Baseball" would pair up with wonderfully. Obviously, "Goodnight Moon" is one and "Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site" is another. All great books for winding down the day.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
As the illustrator, there were a few things that constantly played in my mind. One is the movie "A League of Their Own". The color palette of that movie screams "vintage baseball" to me and I used a lot of similar reds and greens from that movie in my illustrations. Another inspiration was the memories I have of spending time at Dodger Stadium with my family. Attending baseball games at dusk during an awesome summer evening in Los Angeles provides some serious inspiration!
10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
The book really is designed amazingly well. The Art Director, Bob Lentz, really went to town adding really great details and touches to the covers, endpapers and title page. Also, the story is really so sweet, it's going to make the reader want to snuggle up to their nearest loved one!
A big "thank you!" to Courtney Pippin-Mathur for inviting me to participate! Check out her new book, "Maya was Grumpy" in stores now!
To keep the ball rolling here, I'm tagging my wonderful fellow SCBWI Mentees Eliza Wheeler and Andrea Offerman.
Eliza is very, very close to the birth of her book, "Miss Maple's Seeds" which she wrote and illustrated!
And Andrea recently illustrated "The Broken Lands", written by Kate Milford. Go check them out!
Hello everyone! I've been having a great week, how about you? I've had some fun things going on lately: the latest book I illustrated, Goodnight Baseball, was officially released, I landed a fun, new project (I'll talk more about this later) and an interview I did is out!
The fabulously talented and crafty illustrator Jane Smith interviewed little ol' me on her blog! She's doing an amazing series of monthly interviews of which I am so happy to be a part of. She asked me lots of questions about illustration stuff, like process, agents and balancing life and work. Check. It. Out!
Her blog is at birdmeetsworm.blogspot.com and you can find her fun art at superjane.com!
Also, this Sunday I'm going to be attending the SCBWI-L.A. Writer's Day event. It's my first writing conference (I've been to lots of illustrators events though) and I'm super excited to learn from some pretty amazing industry folks!
I've spent many years now trying to figure out how to illustrate. How to create imagery that captures imaginations and emotions. But until recently, I'd never given much thought to writing. I'm an illustrator.
I always had the mindset that learning my one craft is hard enough. Attempting to try to learn a whole new craft? Nope. Don't have time for that--I'm trying to PAINT here, people!
But during the past year or so, my own stories began bubbling up, festering there in the back of my mind. But, as is typical of my personality, I thought of every reason why I couldn't do it: not enough time, don't know where to start, I'm still trying to figure out this whole "illustrating thing", I'll suck, etc., etc. I knew tackling writing was going to be a hard road. And I was never ready to take it on.
But, lately there have been a lot of signs from the universe that writing is something I should try. (People straight out TELLING you that you need to start writing is a "sign", right?)
So, I finally signed up for a two hour picture book writing workshop at the Huntington Beach Library with Laurie Knolwton. The utterly genuine, generous Laurie Knowlton. She literally handed us gems of invaluable information for the ENTIRE two hour workshop. Really. I've got pages and pages of notes to pore over. Laurie is amazing. And generous. Amazingly generous.
At the end of the class, Laurie had us write down a goal list. And so far, I'm halfway to meeting my "writing" goal for the week! The first order of business was to check out and read a bunch of books from the library. Done. Baby steps, people!
My next order of business is to type up AT LEAST twenty existing picture books that I like (I'm aiming for 50 though). I'd heard before from friends that doing this is a great exercise for the budding writer, but I wasn't ever ready to accept the challenge. Now, I'm ready. I need to learn how to write a story from the ground up and I can't write a proper story until I really get into the nuts and bolts of successful writers' stories. This will be a study with the masters of picture book writing, if you will.
How do I even begin to form a chain of unforgettable words, unforgettable ideas, unforgettable concepts and sounds? And how do I create characters who just might stay with the reader for-ev-er?
Uh, I need to learn a lot.
But I'm ready.
Some people make the mistake of thinking that writing a children's book is easy. I've been to enough SCBWI conferences to know it's not. The fact that picture books contain so little words doesn't make it easy--it makes it HARD. To to be able to tell an engaging, lasting story in a small space is an enormous challenge...an amazingly rewarding one!
So I've got my pile of books ready to be typed up and studied. Here we go!!!
I'm participating in a month-long project called Sweet Squares . The project was conceived by illustrator Diandra Mae and is based on an art exercise Melissa Sweet spoke about during her presentation at the SCBWI Los Angeles Conference last month. I found Melissa's presentation to be extremely inspiring and it stoked my creativity and drive.
Diandra Mae was also inspired by the same presentation. She decided to attempt the exercise Melissa spoke about: paint/draw/create one quick (about 5 minutes) 3"x3" piece of art each day for 30 days. When Melissa showed her slide of all 30 squares together in a grid, they all unified to create a beautiful quilt of art. Something totally worth a 30 day journey!
Diandra has invited everyone who is interested to join in with her in this month-long journey. Find out more about Sweet Squares here!
I was so ready for this when Diandra announced the project...I need this!
I've done three squares so far, and already it's becoming addicting--I look forward to my five minutes a day. All too often we can make excuses and come up with reasons why we don't have time to create. When broken down into just five minutes at a time, it becomes more feasible to create.
I'm not looking to paint masterpieces here. It's more about experimentation and play. This comes at a perfect time because lately I've been feeling really stagnant with my art. Even if it's kind of hideous, the point of this exercise is to play--play with a new medium, color, or whatever my heart desires. Hopefully lots of happy accidents will happen and I'll discover a new way to make my art more exciting!
It's play time! Do you want to join in on our month of experimentation? Join us!
Monday evening, I returned home from the 2012 SCBWI Summer Conference. It was four intense days of learning, meeting with friends (new and old), laughing, crying, getting "deep", and just "hanging out". It's taken me a couple of days to sort through all the info I took in, but I definitely walked away with a few Lightbulb Moments. Terms like "voice", "character", and "story" took on new meaning to me...I think I finally GET IT!!! I get it.
Over the next few days, I'll go over my pages and pages of notes and relay a few of the stand-out inspirational moments of the weekend.
I am an illustrator for the children's market as well as a mother of two little ones. Sleep is for suckers!
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