MAYA WAS GRUMPY by Courtney Pippin-Mathur - GIVEAWAY!

It takes a lot of hard work to break into children's publishing. But sometimes you run across a person for whom you know it will only be a matter of time. Courtney Pippin-Mathur is one of those people. I've long been a fan of the gorgeous color palettes and exuberant line quality in her work. Sure enough, Flashlight Press recently published her first picture book, MAYA WAS GRUMPY, and it's worth your time! I spoke with Courtney...

Q. Courtney - CONGRATULATIONS on your debut picture book, MAYA WAS GRUMPY! I've been following your career for a while now - rooting for you. What was your path to publication?
A. I had been in contact with Shari (the editor for Flashlight Press) for over 7 years! And, she had turned down “Maya was Grumpy” twice. It wasn’t until 2011 that the stars aligned and she had the time to help this first time author/illustrator and her imprint was looking for slightly younger books.

Q. I've always loved your energetic illustration style. What is your method?
A. I sketch and sketch till the composition seems right, then I create the drawing on a piece of copy paper. I then enlarge the drawing if needed and trace it onto vellum so I have a master copy. Then I trace it onto the watercolor paper. I ink over the lines, erase my pencil marks and (after the ink is dry) I paint.

I call it “going with the flow” and use my inherent messiness to instill a bit of spontaneity in my work. This often involves many, many revisions until the color combinations are right and the watercolor works. Then, I scan the painting into photoshop for cleaning.

Q. You wrote and illustrated MAYA WAS GRUMPY. How was it to write too?
A. This story was pretty easy to write. Shari suggested some great edits and tweaks. Some [[stories]] have been much harder. The most difficult point for me is getting started. Once I have the story on paper, no matter how horrible it is, at least I have something to work with and will fiddle and tweak and think for days, weeks, months or even sometimes years.

Q. I love Maya's hair - it seems to reflect her mood as it gets wildly out of control, and then back under control again. How did you come up with that?
A. It has been a part of the story since I first wrote it years ago. I love visual jokes in picture books and thought this was a golden opportunity to have some fun. It also might have had something to do with my daughter’s naturally curly locks.

Q. All the fun ideas Maya's Gramma comes up with are so wonderful! I especially love the idea of bathing baby elephants! Did these just tickle you silly as you came up with them?

A. They did! The baby bathtub one was original, but I had them sliding down a frumpy dragon at first and chasing baby chickens instead of tickling tarantulas. This is why editors are awesome!

Q. Do you have any special events going on to celebrate the release of MAYA WAS GRUMPY?
A. Yep. I had my release reading at my favorite local bookstore, Hooray for Books in Alexandria VA and my husband organized a great cocktail party a few weeks ago to thank all of our family members and friends who helped along the way. I also hope to visit more bookstores this summer!

Congratulations again!

A. Thank You! It is a thrill to be on your blog. I am a huge fan and have loved your work for years!

Courtney has kindly agreed to give a signed and dedicated copy of MAYA WAS GRUMPY! along with stickers to one of my lucky commenters! (Must live in the continental US to win.) Sign up below...
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Rhonda Miller said...

This looks like a fun book. I love the girl's hair.

apple blossom said...

sounds like another fun book

share with my nieces

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to get a signed copy at NJ-SCBWI next week!

valerie walsh said...

I love her art and would love to win this book and stickers :)))

Anonymous said...

I know a kid (who is sometimes) like Grumpy Maya. This book would help me show her 'herself' on those days. Besides, I think Grandma's ideas must be awesome and would be good advice for this old Poppi.
Courtney, love the way you use illustration to 'comment' through the book (crazy hair).

Anonymous said...

Grumpy Maya sounds (somedays) like a kid I know! Would love to have this book so my granddaughter can 'see herself' there. Besides, I like the way Courtney uses illustration to 'comment' on the events in the story.