Reading Recommendations

With my PhD thesis out the door, I've actually been reading for fun - shocking! I get sent a lot of ARCs and have the chance to preview a lot of titles because of this blog. I just haven't been able to take advantage of all that much in the last few years. So, I have a lot of reading to make up for. Here are some titles I've finally gotten to and thoroughly recommend...

THE SHADOW AND BONE TRILOGY by Leigh Bardugo. OMG! This is an immersive fantasy series that I wish I'd never had to lift my attention away from. I hear they're making a movie out of the series - be sure to read it first! THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Black. This is the first in a series that is just so much fun! Jude is a kick-ass human heroine living in the world of fae. I listened to this series on audio and just loved it! GONE TO THE WOODS by Gary Paulsen. You may know Paulsen's classic title, HATCHET. Reading Gary's work is like eating an endless bowl of chocolate pudding. His words roll around your mind, cool and satisfying. I'm sure he could make the phone book sound good, but when he adds such a wonderful story as this one, which is actually an autobiography - WOW. What a childhood he had, and no wonder he wrote so many survival stories. He himself was a survivor. It's an inspiring tale.

New cards for friends

I've been playing with some new paint brushes from Artsy and water-based oils to make my latest cards for friends. The seahorses were for Jane Yolen's birthday, and the mermaid was for my trumpet-playing friend, Elisa. I'll post a video of painting them soon.

Elisa has already framed her mermaid and put it next to the angel card I made her a while back. I love that they share a shelf with this beautiful trumpet!

Redbubble: Let's Talk!

I especially love my latest design - Let's Talk! We've been so polarized in the US. It's time to talk, find what we agree on, and try to move forward - TOGETHER. I've made it available on all sorts of items on Redubble - you can even choose to put it on different colors. Click the images to see it in my Redbubble store:

Shoreline of Infinity, Jane Yolen, and Me

The Science Fiction Publicaton, Shoreline of Infinity recently published their first single author book of poetry: The Last Robot by Jane Yolen. As part of the Shoreline of Infinity Event Horizon launch party, Shoreline included two creative collaboration projects with my illustrations, Jane's poetry, and cello music by Atzi. Click the image below to watch the launch.
To see the two collaboration projects, go to:
Sleeping Knight at 7:30
Merlin at the Window 43:16
But watch the whole thing to hear Jane read several poems from the new collection The Last Robot.

Valentine's Day Love

I have a sweet hubbie. What more could I wish for on Valentine's Day? Oh, peel and eat shrimp for dinner - that's what! YUM.

I Love Every Little Thing About You!

Happy Valentine's Day! I made a sweet design for those you love - available on lots of products on Redbubble. Click the image to go see.

Also, remember I have lots of Valentine's Day coloring pages free to download - CLICK HERE.

Video: Giant Xylophone in a Japanese Forest

This is an amazing project. Mori Inc. created an enormous xylophone that plays Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. You have to see/hear it to believe it. Click the image to watch and read more about it at Good News Network.

Friday Links List - 12 Feb 2021

From Penguin RandomHouse: Celebrating Black History Month with a booklist with over 100 books by Black creators and information on a Facebook Live Event centering on African American history

From Brightly:
     21 Books That Celebrate Lesser-Known African Americans and Their Contributions to History
     Great Reads to Celebrate Black History Month with Kids and Teens
     Why Reading the Same Book Repeatedly Is Good for Kids (Even If It Drives You Nuts)

From The Bookseller: Big Five named as defendants in US e-book price-fixing suit

From We Need Diverse Books: Why Every State Should Require LGBTQ+ History Be Taught in Public K-12 Schools

From Publishers Weekly:
     'The Unbearable Whiteness of Publishing' Revisited
     Authors Guild Asks DoJ to Stop PRH Purchase of S&S

From The American Library Association (ALA): ALA announces 2021 Youth Media Awards

From SLJ's 100 Scope Notes: Books on Film: Weston Woods Films on Amazon Prime

From SCBWI (May Need Membership to Read): A Tale of Two Imprints: How Denene Millner Books and Bright Brown Baby Are Making Change in the Industry

From The Thesis Whisperer: HOW TO WRITE A MORE COMPELLING SENTENCE

From NBC News: Reading picture books to my son felt repetitive — but that helped me see how brilliant they were

From MiniEdition Books: Love completes us!



ILLUSTRATORS' TREEHOUSE NEWS
Do you know about the 2021 Philip Leverhulme Prizes in Visual and Performing Arts

From SCBWI British Isles Words and Pictures: Illustration Feature - Dummy Talk!

From CommArts:
     The National Toy Hall of Fame posters (Great project idea for typography classes!)
     Type and Protest
     Unity Place Installation: The installation for Santander Bank’s new tech hub utilizes layered Morse Code to reference Milton Keynes’ rich history of technology. (Very cool!

From CGMasterAcademy: Free Tutorial: Character Design for Animation

From Muddy Colors:
     How I Retouch My Work with Steven Belledin
     American Caricature with Arnie Fenner
     Why Try New Things with Vanessa Lemen
     [Creating the] Augury Raven with Jesper Ejsing
     The Sketch vs the Final with Cory Godbey

From the University of Glasgow's City of Lost Books: Magic Houses at a Time of Covid

From Urban Sketchers: Drawing Attention February 2021

This is some groovy new software from Creative Critique (good for teachers who don't have other program options)

From Print and Pattern:
     Homeware - habitat ss21
     TEXTILES - eleanor pritchard

From The Art Room Plant: Zuzanna Celej




OFF TOPIC BUT INTERESTING
From Formr: Furniture made by former prisoners having a tough time getting work. I love the overLAP - I want one in orange!

From SmithsonianEnv: Otters playing in the snow

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: Teaching: The Workload Conundrum Some Colleges Revamped the Academic Calendar in Response to the Pandemic. Here’s What They Learned.

Reading Recommendations - February 2021

With my PhD thesis out the door, I've actually been reading for fun - shocking! I get sent a lot of ARCs and have the chance to preview a lot of titles because of this blog. I just haven't been able to take advantage of all that much in the last few years. So, I have a lot of reading to make up for. Here are some titles I started with that I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend...

THIRTEEN WITCHES: THE MEMORY THIEF by Jodi Lynn Anderson. It's been a while since Jodi's wonderful May Bird series, so I loved getting into the bewitching story. The witches and magical characters had some wonderful new tropes to them that I hadn't read before, so I loved the imaginative approach of a young witch hunter learning who she really is.
THE SILVER BOX: AN ENCHANTMENT LAKE series book by Margie Preus. This isn't the first book in the series. After enjoying this one so much, I want to go back and start from the beginning with ENCHANTMENT LAKE: A NORTHWOODS MYSTERY. Francie is a marvelous new heroine, a Nancy Drew for modern times.
JUST LIKE THAT by Gary D. Schmidt. I try to read all of Gary's books - he's one of my all-time favorite writers. He wowed me again with Meryl Lee Kowalski and Matt - two young people's whose paths slowly wind together in the most interesting way with the beautiful backdrop of Maine. Don't let the descriptions deceive you - they can't share much without giving the plot away. I won't either, just trust me - it's wonderful.
WARRIOR QUEENS, written by Vicky Alvear Shecter, illustrated by Bill Mayer. Vicky is one of my closest friends and a fabulous writer too. And Bill is a friend and colleague. Put them together with some kick-butt women, and wowsa are you in for a treat!

I'll share more soon!

Coloring Page Tuesday - Seahorses in Love

     Here's some more love - this time from deep in the sea! I sent this to Jane Yolen for her birthday. :)
CLICK HERE for more coloring pages.
     Remember, I create my coloring pages to draw your attention to my books! For instance, my board book Merbaby's Lullaby!
If my news and images add value to your life, won't you please
patron
Just love this one image? Consider a one-time donation...

     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

Coloring Page Tuesday - Goldfish Love

     Last time I sent stars from above, now I send some bubbly love from below.
CLICK HERE for more coloring pages.
     Remember, I create my coloring pages to draw your attention to my books! For instance, I'm celebrating the new illustrated (by me) edition of A BIRD ON WATER STREET! My debut novel won me "Georgia Author of the Year!"
Booklist said it's "A book deserving of a wide readership, recommended for all libraries."
If my news and images add value to your life, won't you please
patron
Just love this one image? Consider a one-time donation...

     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

Adidas Thinks Differently

I found this promo video on Communication Arts. They like it for its innovative presentation. I like it for its future thinking of creating products going forward. Either way, I think it's hopeful and inspiring! Click the image to watch on CommArts' website.

Winthrop Receives BIG Endowment!

I'm thrilled to announce that Winthrop Univesrity has received a $1 Million Gift in honor of alumna and retired Estée Lauder executive Ida Crawford Stewart. The money is designated especially for the CVPA, the Creative and Visual Performing Arts College, which is my home at the university. The endowment will provide much needed funding for fixing up and expanding fascilities, but also go towards scholarships for underserved students. You can read more about this generous donation HERE.

Turned in my PhD Thesis!

Thursday evening I hit "send" on my PhD thesis (called a dissertation in the US). In the end, the title was: "Tricksters, Witches, and Warriors: A Feminist Experiment in Rewriting a Patriarchal Narrative in Children's Fantasy Literature." It is 88K words long (including the bibliography), it also has a 90K-word novel that accompanies it as an enormous appendix. It's already been sent out to the internal and external examiners, who will have it anywhere from six weeks to 3 months. Then we'll schedule my VIVA, where I'll defend my work. (VIVA is short for "viva-voce" or "oral examination.") It's extremely rare that a thesis passes a VIVA without suggestions for changes, so realistically, I can expect to be given another three months (give or take) to get those completed. THEN, I will receive my Doctorate!
     The whole thing has taken me three years, so far; while the last two months have been serious crunch time. I met with my supervisors every week, sometimes twice a week. (This was usually a joy, as I love and respect my supervisors dearly - Maureen Farrell and Bob Davis of the University of Glasgow.) But the writing was intense to say the least. My hand hurts, my head hurts. Honestly, I am seriously spent.
     With it out the door, I am suddenly faced with a new thing in my life - free time. What's that? I'm sure I will fill the void with some other project soon. But for now, I'm finding it hard to focus and have turned into a complete and utter slug. It's part of why, in the service of self-preservation, I need to step back from my blog for a bit—if anything to just let my hand heal. I also feel like I'm looking UP for the first time in months. Thank goodness my friends have stuck by me through this; because I haven't been terribly present of late.
     So, while I already have some ideas cooking for my next steps, I need to give myself a little down time to refill my coffers. I hope you, dear readers, will stick around for when I get back to my normal activities. Until then, I wish you peace and love for the new year, in which I will gain a brand new title!

I do like my Facebook avatar, I think it's a darned good likeness. :)

Friday Links List and Illustrators' Treehouse News - 29 Jan 2021

From The Guardian: Children’s books roundup – the best new picture books and novels

From Brightly: Valentine’s Day Picture Book Gifts for Little Readers

From SLJ's 100 Scope Notes: That’s So Meta! 2021 Metafictional Children’s Books

From The Bookseller:
     Warning of 'submissions fatigue' as editors face 'tsunami' of book proposals
     Book production hits 11-year low in 2020

From Bookshelf: Geoff the Giraffe bookcase




ILLUSTRATORS' TREEHOUSE NEWS
3x3 Portfolio Critiques

COMPETITION: World Illustration Awards Call for Entries

COMPETITION: The Association of Illustrators is hosting their annual World Illustration Awards 2021 - ENTER NOW (Deadline is February 15th)

SCHOLARSHIP: Winthrop University Department of Design Spring 2021 Portfolio Scholarship

CONTEST: Check out the Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest (Astra is the new house headed up by children's lit scholar Leonard Marcus)

PARTICIPATE - SUBMIT TO the: Bologna Children's Book Fair (12 -15 April 2021) Illustrators Exhibition

SCHOLARSHIP: 12x12x12 Scholarship Program for budding children's book writers - AND Registration is now Open!

From Random House Graphic: Newsletter

Do you know about BIPOC Design History?

From Muddy Colors:
     The War of the Worlds with Justin Gerard
     INFECTED BY ART 9 – AWARD WINNERS THE WISDOM OF THE LAZY TEACHER

From Print & Pattern: DESIGNER FOR HIRE - nestbox

From The People's Inauguration: Art Event

From Schoolism wiht Bobby Chiu:
     Wish Dragon Production Designer: Shelly Wan Interview
     INTERVIEW: Costume Concept Artist Michael Uwandi

From The Art Room Plant: Joaquin Camp


From My Modern Met: Impossibly Tiny Doodles Fill Sketchbook Pages with Surreal Optical Illusions


OFF TOPIC BUT INTERESTING
From CommArts: The Virtual Design Classroom

From @KBChild on Twitter: Spend a Weekend in a Hobbit Hole