01 January 2015
Kelly Light's LOUISE LOVES ART - Giveaway!
I fell in love with Kelly Light's new book the minute I saw it, because I was exactly like Louise! And I adore the line, "I love art. It's my imagination on the outside!" I'm thrilled to have Kelly here today to talk about LOUISE LOVES ART!
Q. Kelly, congratulations on your debut picture book and it’s overwhelming success! How’s it been for you?
A. Thanks Elizabeth! It was so great to spend some time with you at the Decatur Book Festival this August!
The release of Louise Loves Art has been beyond anything that I ever imagined. Harper Collins and my editor, Alessandra Balzer at the imprint, Balzer and Bray have supported the book amazingly. I was always so focused on getting published that I never applied my imagination to what happens after publication. It has been new and awe inspiring and overwhelming.
The best part of a very busy Fall 2014, was getting to be with kids. I traveled all over the United States and talked about art and heard from so many children “I love art!” That fills me with hope and inspiration.
Q. So, is LOUISE LOVES ART an autobiography?
A. Yes and no. Louise is like me, in that she is a little girl obsessed with drawing. I was as well. Louise is the older sibling. I was the younger sibling. I was the one who messed up my older brother’s stuff. Louise also has an unrestrained confidence. I knew who I was, I was an artist. Having that identity certainly helped my confidence, but I was a little more shy.
Q. I was Louise myself - I was seldom seen without a drawing pad tucked under my arm as a kid. And I did portraits of all my friends. How did art show up in your early years?
A. I remember always drawing as far back as I can remember. I tell the kids, when I talk to them, I drew on every scrap of paper in the house. Every piece of mail, every napkin in the napkin holder. My Mom and Dad had a diner when I was a kid. I drew on every green and white guest check.
One of the reasons I thought up Louise was remembering back to being a kid in the 1970’s. There was so much art in school. In every school subject we did book reports, dioramas and bulletin boards. When my own daughter was in fourth grade, she was lucky to have art class twice a month. Her teacher waited until May to do a project with his class because the rest of the school year’s lessons were determined by the testing in Long Island.
I thought about my artsy kid and what if I grew up with out art surrounding me? Who would I be? That’s when I started drawing Louise.
Q. Gads, I can't imagine! You did a lot of licensed artwork in an early career - did that help you grow into the artist you are now?
Licensing, for major cartoon properties is a lot like advertising. You have to think fast. You have to distill your ideas into their simplest form. Usually one image. You have to convey a story, a feeling, personality….very simply. You also draw a lot. I used to have to fill a wall with concepts every day. Then, maybe one would get used. You learn that ideas aren’t all precious. You get them all out, then look around... learn what is viable and useful. Keep moving.
Sounds a lot like publishing, right?
Q. LOUISE LOVES ART is a perfect marriage of words and pictures working together - how did you approach that?
A. I think in pictures. I drew for months with only two sentences written . “I love art. It’s my imagination on the outside.” I had a running narrative and dialogue in my head. A whole hour and a half animated movie. When the storyboard was done, the sketches were finished… I picked the fewest words possible to add to the pictures. What were they saying? What needed to be said? That was it.
I don’t follow any writing rules. I really do believe “Give me any chance, I’ll take it. Read me any rule, I’ll break it.” The only rule I believe in is being real and speaking and acting from my heart. That includes however I get the work done. For me, it’s an unconventional process. It’s also difficult and involves a lot of swearing, loud music, wine and bubble baths. Maybe some chocolate.
Q. I know you had an incredible book tour when LOUISE LOVES ART came out. Now that you’re home, is life different? And what’s next for you?
A. I call the Louise Tour, My BIG Adventure. Like any adventure, there were highs and lows. Successes and Peril. Fun and a little challenge.
Life is very different. I am very different. This whole experience, the last two and a half years has changed me. I was afraid to travel alone, speak in front of people and now - I am afraid of hotels. There were a lot of hotels.
I have time trouble now. There is never enough time. Time is the most valuable commodity. I would, if I had the time, write a science fiction novel based on that idea. Time. More time and how can we get it? Who can get it for me? I am a time junky. I need more time.
I am comforted by how I spend my time. I spend it creating. I always created but, now, creating books for children, with my own characters and telling my own stories, I get to wind up face to face with these kids. I get to talk to them about being creative and sharing their imaginations with the world. It’s rewarding. That is the payment for the work.
Right now, I am finishing Louise 2. I am working on illustrating a book for Beachlane Books, “Just Add Glitter” by Angela DiTerlizzi.
So much to do, so little time.
Q. Thanks so much for sharing and congratulations again!
A. I’m glad I got to spend some with you, Elizabeth! Happy and Safe travels on your big Adventure!
Check out this incredibly sweet book trailer for LOUISE LOVES ART (the image will take you to YouTube):
Kelly has kindly offered to send a free, signed copy of LOUISE LOVES ART to one of my lucky, lucky followers! Must live in the US to win - enter below!