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29 February 2016

My work in the SCBWI Illustrators' Showcase - London!

I'm happy to share that my artwork was selected to be part of the Society of Children's Book Writers and illustrators "Illustrators Showcase" which will open on Sunday (Mother's Day) at Pickled Pepper Books in Crouch End, London. After that it will travel to Seven Stories in Newcastle. I'm not sure I'll be at the London opening, but I'll try to make the Newcastle one. Here's my piece that made it in:
You can view the entire show's work online HERE. And read more about the event HERE. Click the above poster to see a larger version in a new window.

28 February 2016

Dreams of Dali: 360° Video

This is a mesmerizing video - I dare you not to be glued to it. It's oddly relaxing. Click the image to watch on YouTube.
"Experience Dreams of Dalí in the special exhibit Disney & Dalí: Architects of the Imagination at The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, or at dreamsofdali.org."

27 February 2016

Illustration Challenge #38

Create a drawing or painting with two characters emotionally connecting through eye contact. Harder than it sounds.

Workshop Announcement: Getting Your Picture Books Onto the Page

May 7th SCBWI British Isles is hosting my workshop "Getting your picture book onto the page: Writers and Illustrators workshop with Elizabeth Dulemba."
     How does your picture book manuscript translate into the finished item that will be fully illustrated, enthralling readers whether they're opening your book for the first time or the fifty-first?
      Award-winning picture book author-illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba offers an expert workshop in Edinburgh – including hands-on work with storyboards, four-panel and full-length "dummy" picture book prototypes – to help you bring your existing picture book text or well-developed picture book idea onto the page. This workshop intensive will help you get to the heart of the structure of your story, and think visually.
      Perfect for picture book authors as well as illustrators looking for professional feedback on draft or finished sketches for a specific picture book project.
     It will take place at the Edinburgh Central Library, 7-9 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH11EG. There's not a logo for the event, so I'm including the map (which I love)! CLICK HERE to find out more about it and to sign up. You don't have to be a member of SCBWI to attend, but it's predicted to fill up rather quickly, so please sign up soon!

26 February 2016

Friday Linky List - 26 February 2016

We lost Harper Lee this week. The Book Reporter did a nice write up HERE.

Writing for Children and Teens has opened their Red Light, Green Light writing challenge, with some pretty impressive rewards! CLICK HERE

From Shelf Awareness: Kate DiCamillo: Forever Eight

From Shelf Awareness: One of the owners of FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock, Georgia (one of my very favorite bookstores) has lost everything in a house fire. Click here to learn more and see how you can help.

At The Bookseller: Tributes paid to 'extraordinary' Umberto Eco :( More at PW: The Parasitic Press: Umberto Eco

From The Bookseller: Joanne Harris (author of Chocolat) withdraws from festival over 'unreasonable' demands

From Mondays with Mandy or Mira: Special X - 5 Things Editors & Agents Want to See Before Signing You

From Picture Books Blogger: Diverse Books

25 February 2016

Peter Millet's JOHNNY DANGER: LIE ANOTHER DAY - Guest Post


Peter Millet on...
What’s are three things you need to make a memorable book trailer?
Lights, camera and disco…

      Well the first two are items traditionally featured in most author-created videos but not necessarily the third one. With my new online trailer for Johnny Danger: Lie Another Day I’ve decided to bring the infectious, finger-wagging disco beats back and help put the boogie into books to create a trailer unlike any other posted this month.
     Late last year I completed my second middle grade book and made some notes about scenes that would be interesting to feature in a potential trailer. One of those scenes included a hip hop battle in the Amazon jungle involving spies, deadly warriors, and a man eating anaconda. Taking this concept a step further I decided it would be hilarious to make the world’s first ever one minute author music video for a book.
      Usually I would bombard my fellow author friends on Twitter or Facebook with endless updates about my new book and supply millions of reasons why they should be as excited about it as I was. I decided that this time around I would only send one tweet and one Facebook post promoting the title, but that one action would be highly memorable. I also wanted to create a short piece of entertainment that children would enjoy and wish to share with their friends. In my book the hero uses a mixture of Uptown Funk and Gangnam Style dance moves to engage and outwit his adversaries. As pure luck would have it the week we began filming the video, the K-POP artist Psy released a catchy new single and openly encouraged listeners and fans to create their own, comical parody versions of it.
      My fate was sealed - I had to be filmed dancing on camera as part of my commitment to the craft of writing.
      Obviously I was unable to travel to the Amazon to film the sequence, so I decided to transport myself there via a green screen. For those who are not familiar with green screen technology - it’s simply a process of filming yourself in front of a green background, and then using a computer to remove any traces of the green colour. Effectively what you are standing in front of becomes invisible (the same method weather presenters use standing in front of their imaginary maps on TV). This allows you to be placed anywhere in the world on anything you desire.
      I engaged the services of my teenage children to help me film the humorous sequences. Most of the humour was generated watching me trying to emulate Peter Jackson or James Cameron by creating a hybrid green screen shooting studio in the middle of our living room with no experience at all. I think they realised I was technically challenged when I purchased two halogen lights to illuminate the green screen, and later realised the units I purchased did not include power cords. When I finally purchased the correct lights, the laughter continued as one of the fragile halogen bulbs blew up seconds before filming commenced and I had to return to the store dressed as James Bond needing an urgent thingamajig-wotsit replacement.
      Somehow we managed to film us all separately dancing along to PSY’s song and then splice the footage together in the computer.
      I was relatively surprised how believable the footage looked on-screen. I then decided to raise the stakes a little higher and asked my son if it would be possible to paste me disco dancing on top of a US Navy nuclear submarine. (Virginia Class for those sub-spotters out there.) It turns out it was possible - just extremely time-consuming. Every single scene (nearly 100) had to be hand adjusted to allow for the movement of my body being in sync with the motion of the submarine ploughing through the water. I eventually volunteered to do the painstaking adjustments myself, which I would relate to the task of individually replacing commas with semi colons throughout a lengthy Word document (a task ideally suited for a nerdy writer).
      Four days later we had a pretty funny looking one-minute trailer in place. The icing on the cake was enlisting my good friend Brent Burridge who has over 30 years’ experience working in the radio industry to lay down vocals. He volunteered to play the gravelly-voiced narrator guy who adds a touch of dramatic tension to the clip that makes the whole product look ludicrously over the top.
     I hope people enjoy watching this entertaining trailer. Particularly I hope children find it an amusing way to spend 60 seconds in front of their computers. For my next book release I will most likely revert to the traditional methods of bombarding folk via Twitter… or not!
     Click the image below to learn more about Peter Millet and his latest Johnny Danger novel:

24 February 2016

Innovative learning week at UoE - Picture Books

The University of Edinburgh has an awesome idea - one week every year the school opens up for students (and visitors) to try something new. It's called Innovative Learning Week. The idea is that an art student can go attend a law seminar. A medical student can go take a glass blowing workshop. TED was actually an Innovative Learning Week-based activity. Basically, they want folks to try something NEW! I didn't stray too far out of my comfort zone because I was busy preparing for TED (which was new for me!), but I did attend a Picture Book Workshop on Friday, hosted by Robbie Bushe, Janis Mackay and my bud, Kasia Matyjaszek.
      As in most picture book environments, fellow MFA Illustration student, Boris ended up being the only male attendee out of 40 - turns out it was the most popular workshop on campus and nearly 30 people were on the waiting list! I'm glad we got in!
     Kasia laughed when she saw me there. She said, "You don't need this!" I said, "I can always learn." In fact, I have a new theory developing... I think you can only learn so much about writing novels - it's more of a 'just do it' exercise. However, you can always learn more about creating picture books. They are such a complicated art form! And truly, I learned so much on Friday!
     Kasia (pictured above) has become my artistic muse, making me try new media and embrace my inner child. (Not as easy as you might think.) Janis got me back in touch with the Hero's Journey a la Joseph Campbell. I always knew the structure applied to novels, but I'd never seen how it applied to picture books so clearly until this workshop.
     But I'm getting ahead of myself. Here are some of the wonderful things we did. First off, we were given an envelope full of randomly cut pieces of colorful paper and asked to create a character with them. Mine gave me two, Beast and Birdie:
We were asked to draw our new character/s and then take them on a journey - for each stage we were handed another piece of cut paper to inspire us - and it DID! Who knew cut paper could be such a powerful imagination trigger?
     Janis took us on a writing journey with our new character/s. We created storyboards in the most economic way I'd ever seen. Why didn't I ever think of wide sticky notes, which can behave as replaceable spreads?
Back to the artwork, we put our character/s into scenes and created one spread using all manner of supplies. Kasia likes to play when she works, and she made sure we did too!
We had a blast, and I discovered colored inks - LOVE! At the end we had a show to display our creations (with Prosecco - how evolved).
Boris and I proudly shared our accomplishments.
Surprisingly, I actually came up with a story I want to fiddle with some more. Cut paper, cut paper, cut paper! Brilliant inks and be sure to make a mess. Who knew it could inspire so much? Maybe you should try it too!

23 February 2016

Coloring Page Tuesday - Ele Reads

     Sometimes I like to make hand-drawn cards for friends. That's how this one started out. You can see the shading behind the line art. (That won't show in the coloring version.) And you know how I love drawing elephants!
     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of six literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     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.

22 February 2016

Valentine's Day in Leith

Days are getting noticeably longer here in Edinburgh and the weather is improving as well. So, for Valentine's Day, Stan and I decided to do something we haven't been able to for a while - we took a lovely walk to Leith.
      Train tracks have been turned into meandering walking paths all over the city and the one nearest our flat is a beautiful way to get to get there. The closer you get to the port city, the more water you see, until finally, you are walking directly alongside the Water of Leith. It's so peaceful and filled with swans and interesting ducks like this one.
      Leith is filled with good restaurants - mostly seafood places - including two Michelin starred restaurants, The Kitchin and Martin Wishart. But we were in the mood for something a little more casual. Luckily, we got there right as restaurants were opening (12:30). Any later and we wouldn't have gotten in without a reservation. Happily, we ended up in The Shore. We were actually pointed that way by a man festively dressed in an entirely red suit for Valentine's Day - hat included. You can see him in this photo behind happy Stan.
The bar was extremely cozy and we couldn't help but fall into conversation with the folks at the table next to us. Turns out Dave is an artist as well. They were all so nice, we're already emailing and hope to meet up again soon. So many of our friendships here begin with, "Well, we were in a pub..." :)
     There was also a great jazz duet - just a standup bass and piano. They were excellent.
     Doggies were constantly around our feet, which makes us silly happy.
     We stayed for hours enjoying wonderful food (way beyond our pub food expectations), good wine, new friends, and great music. Although, I must admit we were a bit too tired to make the walk home (and it had grown colder), so we caught a warm bus and held hands all the way home. Not a bad way to celebrate Valentine's Day! Cheers!

21 February 2016

George Saunders On Writing

This has some adult language in it, but it's some sound writing advice from author George Saunders. Click the image to check it out.

20 February 2016

Illustration Challenge #37

Let's keep it simple this week. In celebration of my TEDx Talk, see how few lines you can use to express the most emotion possible. See if you can get your drawing down to five simple lines (like for the face of Charlie Brown per this TED Talk by book designer, Chip Kidd).

19 February 2016

TED Day

Thursday was my TEDx Talk at the University of Edinburgh! But before I tell you all about it, I have to say THANK YOU to all my friends and followers for the flood of good wishes on my blog and Facebook. Your enthusiastic support meant so much to me, and it really did help! I'm so grateful for you all!
      So - onto the day!
     I was pleased to get six hours of sleep the night before - a miracle really considering how excited I was when I went to bed. It was like Christmas Eve, and my speech kept running over and over again in my head. I awoke at 5:00am, even though the alarm was set for 6:30. I was ready to GO!!!
     Speakers arrived at Central Hall at 9:00. We gathered in a green room where many of us met for the first time - all great people. Then we took to our corners and private spaces to run through our speeches. Finally, the organizers escorted us out to our seats. Those of us speaking in the morning were seated in the upstairs balcony, where our comings and goings wouldn't be terribly disruptive. (We switched seats with the second group after lunch.) It was also easy access to bathrooms and the behind-the-stage greenroom.
     The event began with an inspirational video about TED talks around the world, and how meaningful the organization has become. Loved it! That was followed by African drumming and dancers. Got our blood flowing first thing in the morning - I tell you! Have a gander at the EUTV's wrap-up of the day - click the image to watch on Youtube:
     The lineup of speakers was truly impressive. I'll introduce you to them in the order of their appearances. (Stan took most of these photos, by the way.) First was Jo Simpson, Executive Coach and author. She spoke about "The courage to trust yourself...listen to the nudges."
Of the 12 speakers, eight were invited speakers (I was one of those) and four were students who had been selected from a larger group that had gone through months of weekly meetings and lessons to fine tune their speaking skills and speeches. They were true stars!
     Sabrina Syed, student of architecture, was the first of the students and she gave an amazing talk called "How to feel in place, any place." It was like watching a career launch - fabulous!
Professor of sociology and specialist in theories of crime, harm and justice, Lynne Copson spoke next about "How to demystify academia (and why we should bother)."
Michael Gidney, CEO of Fair Trade, spoke next about "Change is in your pocket." I missed most of his talk on the day, as it was time for me to start getting ready. But I did see him talk during the practice runs on Wednesday, and it was a powerful talk about how we can't claim 'we didn't know' in today's social media age.
I was up next! My talk was called "Is your stuff stopping you?" (CLICK HERE to read my entire blurb.) I was pretty proud of myself. I said what I wanted to say and remembered all the important bits. I did, however, forget the phrase "planned obsolescence." I gave myself a second to recall it, but when it didn't come, I just said, "Let's move on," and I did. So, I wasn't perfect, but overall, I was quite happy with how I did. I'll share as soon as the video goes live.
Vimbai Midzi, another student, followed me. I missed most of her talk as well, because a reporter from Freshair was interviewing several of us after our talks. Their interviews will go live HERE soon. But I saw Vimbai speak during our Master Class and she was powerful. She's an avid twitterer, so you can follow this dynamic young woman on her life journey.
Lunch was a catered buffet, quite nice, with an entire corner for us gluten-free folks. (It was the last thing I was thinking of, so I'm glad they did!) It was a lovely two-hour break with a quartet
followed by a fantastic guitarist/singer. Daniel Duke.
There were activities in various alcoves, including a display of artwork by fellow MFA student, Chiho Nishiwaka, representing each of the student speakers (about 15 of them total). That was fun to see!
During lunch, lots of folks came up to talk to me about my speech, gave me compliments, and said, "Guess what I'll be doing this weekend...cleaning out my closets!" I loved it!
     They also displayed the @TDxUoE twitter threads on the big screen, so I was able to view the online responses, including quotes. I was quoted quite a bit, which made me smile. This one said, "'Stuff gives the illusion of permanence says @dulemba @TEDxUoE. Are you an experience-based person or a collecting one?" Joy!
I loved that I spoke in the morning. By lunch, I was done with the hard part. So I was able to truly focus on the following speakers, relax and enjoy the rest of the day.
      After lunch, the second batch of speakers fired up. I should mention, we were each introduced by TEDx Event Coordinator Lily Asch and volunteer Pedro Leandro of The Improverts. Lily was one of the student speakers last year, and they both did an amazing job!
      Performance poet Catherine Wilson was the third student speaker. She started the second batch with "Making poetry loud." She stays busy with performances during Fringe Festival, and I could see why!
Jennifer Culbertson, a linguist and Chancellor's Fellow spoke next about "The hidden symmetry of language." She stressed the commonalities of how we all communicate, no matter our languages - fascinating!
Cardiovascular doctor and scientist Dr. Matthew Bailey followed her with a talk about salt and its impact on our society in "My genes don't fit! Living in a salt-saturated society."
The final student speaker, Chloe Edmundson went next. She spoke about "Unleashing the potential of university ecosystems." Her insights were promising and I have a feeling she'll make a different in the world one day. Sadly, we didn't get a photo of her in action, but she did great!
      Emma van der Merwe spoke next about "Why I do something every day that scares me." She opened and closed with the point, at which point Lynne and I (we were sitting in the first row during her talk) turned to each other and said, "Already done it!"
Deri Llewellyn-Davis, adventurer and speaker closed with his experience of climbing Mt. Everest during the earthquake in "Everest: F*** the fear, it's not real anyway."
Three videoed TED Talks interspersed the live ones, tying together this year's theme of 'Connecting the Dots.' So it was a thorough day.
      At the end they had us all come back up onstage for a final bow. (Not everybody is in this photo, but I'm hoping to share the official group shot soon. Chloe is third from he left.)

And that was that! The crowd filtered out and the rest of us fell apart around the stage taking photos with the TED letters and each other. Here are Catherine and Vimbai.
Me with the TED sign.
And with our amazing speech coach Mel Sherwood.
Here I am with my main contact throughout, Miri MacFarlane. She's the one I originally met with who got me invited to this amazing affair. LOVE her!
In fact, the entire event was run by amazing volunteers. This many of them...
In this crowd is also Shannen Prijatna and Event Coordinator Vincent Nimoh, although I didn't get a photo with either of them. Miss!
     Truly, everybody worked their bums off to make the day exceptional. If you're reading this - I'm sending you all big fuzzy hugs of gratitude! You were an impressive bunch of dedicated and brilliant people!
     Afterwards, many of us headed for the Blackbird pub where we celebrated with lots of clinks, well-earned cheering and congratulations! THANK YOU, THANK YOU all for letting me be a part of such a tremendous experience! CLICK HERE for updates and to learn more about this fantastic event!

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