It's black history month and my friend Don Tate has a truly special book out that I have to share with you. It's called POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON and it's published by Peachtree. (Gads, they do some good-looking books!) I emailed Don for a full on guest post, but he is riding high right now, super busy. As he said, "...things are so crazy right now. I'm on deadline to finish sketches for this next book before next Wednesday (when my travel schedule kicks in), and I have to start over on the sketches." So, I asked him some quick questions...
Me: How did you learn about George Moses Horton
Don: I wish I had a more interesting or profound answer to this question, but I learned about Horton through a writing partner, Chris Barton. I started researching Horton on that same day. I knew from day one that Horton's story would be loved by readers, but because of my heavy illustration schedule, I didn't know when I'd find time to write it. And then I had this fear that someone else might publish the story before I had a chance to start writing, so I found the time. Several years and many, many revisions later, the book was acquired by Peachtree Publishers.
Me: What was your medium for this book?
Don: Initially I wanted to illustrate "Poet" digitally. I'd just purchased a Cintiq, and I was anxious to put it to use. I did all of the line work on my Cintiq, but I think it freaked out my art director, who had another look in mind. She loved my hand drawn artwork, as done in the book "Hope's Gift," so I decided to use the same medium, acrylic watercolor washes and ink (Micron) lines on watercolor paper. Acrylic dries hard and allows for layering without disturbing under painting. And I used colored pencil in places. I also wanted to find a way to include Horton's poetry, since I'd not included any in the text (intentionally). So I hand lettered portions of his poetry and worked them into the illustrations using Photoshop. I did eventually get to put that Cintiq to work on my following book, "Whoosh!"
Me: With your busy schedule, how do you fit in creative time?
Don: Balancing creative time with travel can be a challenge. To help, I recently purchased a Surface Pro 4. It's a tablet that allow me to sketch on it using Photoshop or Manga Studio. I completely sketched and laid out my last two books on it. It's not great for creating final art, but totally saved me with my last two books. I also have a great booking agent who helps with the details of travel, so that I can spend that time in creative mode. I take it one day at a time.
Me: what are you working on next?
I have five more books under contract, and one to be announced soon. Most of them are nonfiction and involve little-known historical figures. I'm especially excited about an opportunity to work with Eloise Greenfield. That will be so cool!

Learn more about Don at http://dontate.com.

1 comment:

Robyn Hood Black said...

Thankful for Don Tate's voice (and overflowing talents!) in this world. Thanks e, for sharing.