-->

28 February 2018

Buy the Original at Etsy: Mechanical Elephant!

This week the original pen and ink drawing of "Mechanical Elephant" from my Marginal Creatures collection is available in my Etsy Shop. Click the image to go to my store.
Also...

to download the image as an exclusive Patron giveaway!

Beast from the East

Despite my hints at spring, we've been hit with "The Beast from the East." Most of our Scottish weather comes from the west with the Gulf Stream, which makes the weather quite moderate. But every now and then, the weather comes from the east, from Norway and Sweden. When that happens, we get this.

Snow and hail, all the schools in Scotland are closed today. It was still snowing, even as the sun rose.
But there are still signs of spring here and there.

27 February 2018

Coloring Page Tuesday - Happy Hippo!

     I cannot wait for spring! How about you? I imagine I'll be as happy as this hippo... CLICK HERE for more coloring pages, and if they add joy and value to your life, please...
Become a Patron!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Also, check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of over a dozen literary awards, including Georgia Author of the Year. 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.

26 February 2018

It's Tell a Fairy Tale Day!

Did you know that February 26th is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day? It is! Click the banner to learn more about it.
To celebrate, Brightly has put together an awesome resource called "Brightly's Guide to Reading Fairy Tales with Kids!" You can access it by clicking HERE or the image below.
And if you want some fabulous adult reading about fairy tales, I highly recommend anything by Marina Warner, although ONCE UPON A TIME is a good beginning.
Go ye, and tell a good fairy tale!

#KidLitWomen for Women's History Month!

I've joined a group of creators of Children's Literature (a.k.a. Kidlit) who are using March to shine a light on the imbalance of gender representation in the children's publishing industry. Here's our manifesto:
We're celebrating Women's History Month with 31 days of posts focused on improving the climate for social and gender equality in the children’s and teens’ literature community. Join in the conversation on Facebook or Twitter #kidlitwomen.
     In anticipation of the event, Newbery-honor award-winning author Grace Lin (our founder and creator of the logo) shared this letter:
Dear Friends,
      More than a month ago, I sat with a group of women colleagues and listened to their conversation. It was a conversation fueled by passion, anger, and heartbreak, but most of all by injustice. Our children’s literature community, a community that preaches to children about kindness and fairness, is egregiously not fair.
      It has been this way for a long time, for this is a conversation I have heard repeatedly over the years. It is a conversation I have participated in repeatedly over the years.
      And, next week, in honor of Women’s History Month, it is a conversation we will have again. But instead of having it in secret, with our close friends around a kitchen table, it will be out in the open, here and with as many of us as possible. We will all share in the outrage, brainstorm solutions, and, hopefully, work together for a change towards gender equality.
      Which brings me to this: none of us, consciously or unconsciously, is blameless for the inequality that troubles our children’s literature world. We cannot cast blame only on organizations or demand that publishers shoulder all of the responsibility. By being a part of this community, we are all also part of the problem. But with that, we are all also part of the solution. Everyone of us, has the power to effect change—in ourselves, in others and the institutions we are a part of.
      For this week, in these days before the conversation begins, I ask all of you to reflect. It is possible to be an awesome, strong, incredible, smart, accomplished person who has blind spots. See if you can find yours.
      Have you treated a male author as a “rock star”? Have you declined a “girl” book for your son or ignored an older woman? Have you minimized the concerns of a woman of color? What have you done or encouraged or defended that you feel uncomfortable about?
      Can you sit with those feelings for a moment? Can you realize that so much of what will be discussed is not a judgement of you as a person, but the problems of our community? Because to move forward, to really remedy our problems, we will need to put our egos aside.
      So, for now, let’s think and reflect. And then next week, starting on March 1st, let’s start our conversation. It’s going to be a conversation full of many emotions, but let’s also make it a conversation of respect and practical ideas. Join here or by posting on your own Facebook page, Twitter, or elsewhere on social media by using the hashtag #kidlitwomen.
      I look forward to talking with you.

Best Wishes,
Grace Lin
We begin March 1st. I hope you'll follow along!

25 February 2018

2018: The Year of the Bird!

National Geographic has announced that 2018 is THE YEAR OF THE BIRD: A YEAR-LONG EFFORT DEDICATED TO CELEBRATING AND PROTECTING BIRDS. It's been 100 years since the passing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. From their press release:
National Geographic, National Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology [MY publisher!], BirdLife International, and more than 100 organizations join forces for 12 months of storytelling and science to examine how our changing environment is impacting birds around the globe

Campaign to include simple but meaningful actions that anyone can take for a healthy planet filled with the beauty of birds

“If you take care of the birds, you take care of most of the big environmental problems in the world.”
—Thomas E. Lovejoy, Tropical Conservation Biologist and National Geographic Fellow
Get some great ideas on how to celebrate and engage with the birds in your life at Houzz.

Meanwhile, check out this awesome video of a rare yellow cardinal in Alabama! Click the video to watch and read the story at the Good News Network.
AND check out the cover of my new book, CROW NOT CROW, written by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple at Mile High Reading: Coming Soon 2018 Picture Books Coming Soon! (More on that soon!)

24 February 2018

Longer days in Glasgow

Scotland is way far north. So much so, days get very short in the winter and very long in the summer. Those longer days arrive like candy for the soul! I've had fun capturing how it looks in Glasgow. Here's the uni. The setting sun turns the stone buildings to gold here.
For all those who wonder if Glasgow inspired Harry Potter, I hope this removes all doubt.
I thought this sign, which reads, "World Changers Welcome: Who Will You Become?" with the sun setting behind it was especially lovely.
I have an evening class in Glasgow, which means I oftentimes see some pretty crazy things on the Subway as I'm heading home. Like this group of 20-somethings in costumes, with balloons, going I-don't-know-where, hanging like monkeys in the train car. There was a chicken, a pirate, a mermaid, a soldier, dalmations and Cruella DeVille, etc. How fun!
Meanwhile, back in Edinburgh, Scotland just beat England in the 6 Nations Rugby finals and our neighbors are makin' a victorious ruckus! Woohoo!

22 February 2018

Sonja Danowski's SMON SMON

I remember books with images that haunted my imagination when I was a kid. They weren't easy images, they were deeply different and interesting, and I devoured them. Sonja Danowski's SMON SMON reminds me of that feeling. She's here today to share her amazing new work with us - enjoy!
e: What is your creative process/medium, can you walk us through it?
Sonja:
Pencils are my basic tool to work out the detailed composition. Luckily there is some correction possible, because even if I have a quite concrete vision of how it should look like in my mind, it is challenging to bring it to paper. In my pencil hatching I try to already set light and shadow and give the forms depth. For coloring I use mainly ink and watercolor. I work on heavy crème colored drawing paper with a smooth and matt surface. Some of my favorite colors to paint with are English red, sepia and transparent blue, which I also used for Smon Smon. For the finishing touches I also use soft colored pencil.

e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
Sonja:
I think already the expression “Heart Art” indicates its character, Heart Art transports more than just the plot, it opens the door to our inner world by touching our feelings. Thinking of other artists’ illustrations that I consider as magical, I cannot define a common pattern or way to achieve it; medium and style do not matter, but they have all in common that I feel somehow attracted by the artwork’s soul. It can be something like an expression in the depicted creature’s face, a combination of colors or a stunning landscape. Maybe we feel especially attracted by things that remind us of our desires and wishes or of something that happened in our own lives, or by something that is beyond our imagination by combining unusual picture elements and therefore captivates us.

e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of this story?
Sonja:
My bed has always been close to the window and I like to keep the curtain at least partly open so that I can see the night sky. Viewing the darkness of the night sky with its sparkling stars lets so much space for imagination. What we connect with foreign planets has, due to the genre of science fiction, often to do with technical things like futuristic spaceship and the way through the galaxy away from or towards the earth in order to meet aliens. Instead of thinking about the encounter I like to think myself directly into the life as a creature from another world. I already loved such fictional journeys to other planets as a child. Of course the existence of the planet Gon Gon is totally unlikely, but that’s what picture books with fictive stories are for! I am not much of a scheduler. Instead of drafting a detailed concept, I just started drawing the picture world with its friendly residents that I had in mind. Honestly, my imagined world that I already visited in my childhood was even more fantastic, shining and weird than shown in my book, but the borders that are set for an artist when depicting something also open new and unpredictable possibilities. As soon as the appearance of the Smon Smon was defined, the story grew from picture to picture in a totally intuitive way and it generated a certain rhythm that I caught to create the accompanying text.

e: How do you advertise yourself?
Sonja:
  When it is about showing my work around, I am a bit shy and I am not good in advertising myself. I am really thankful for the attention and lovely feedback that sometimes just comes to me. Thank you so much for featuring Smon Smon on your wonderful blog!
e: My pleasure!

e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?
Sonja:
As an illustrator I spend much time alone with my pictures at my drawing table. I like the quiet and freedom and the time for considering that being a creator involves, but sometimes it is so difficult to decide, which ideas are worth to follow. After having decided for a theme, I often think of all the other possible ideas that I maybe missed or oversaw and might have been much more interesting and compelling. It is so good that there is always a next project with new ideas and very likely also with new self doubts if it was exactly the right decision to concentrate on this theme.

e: Is there something in particular about this story you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
Sonja:
I hope that coming to know friendly creatures like the Klons Klons and the Flon Flons will be soothing, I hope that following the Smon Smon on its way on the planet Gon Gon in the rhythm of the text will somehow lead to lightheartedness. The idea for a book about Smon Smon sometime appeared and it kept on and on, in my creative urge I worked on the pictures for several months, during the creation the Smon Smon developed kind of a life by its own; it surprised me by its weirdness and brightened my mood.

e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
Sonja:
I am dreaming of a picture book project where I have complete freedom about the theme and for that I can take all the time that I need, … how lucky I am to have again the chance to work on exactly such a project right now! I decided for the theme a while ago and I am in midst the process of creation.
e: I can't wait to see it!

21 February 2018

National School Walk Out Art

I have artwork available for the National School Walk Out on March 14th on Redbubble. It's my way of helping out from way over in Scotland. If I were there, I'd be walking with you.

Buy the Original on Etsy: Tiger and Mouse!

This week the original pen and ink drawing of "Tiger and Mouse" from my Marginal Creatures collection is available in my Etsy Shop. Click the image to go to my store.
Also...

to download the image as an exclusive Patron giveaway!

20 February 2018

Coloring Page Tuesday - Nest Reader

     One of the most blissful things I get to do for my PhD is cosy up in my nest and read my favorite genres - MG and YA with the satisfaction of knowing I'm actually doing homework! CLICK HERE for more coloring pages, and if they add joy and value to your life, please...
Become a Patron!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Also, check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of over a dozen literary awards, including Georgia Author of the Year. 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.

19 February 2018

MFA vs. PhD

I finished my MFA in Illustration (with honors) at the University of Edinburgh in May. It was a wonderful two-year-long chapter of non-stop visual creativity. I drew, painted, screen-printed, relief printed, and generally made a big mess! It was fabulous and I can't remember a time in my life when I was ever as densely creative. I could be an MFA student for the rest of my life and be quite happy.
     But, now I'm doing a PhD at the University of Glasgow (photo) and I am in a completely new life chapter. This chapter is all about reading and writing. I still illustrate (and have a book coming out this fall), but my primary exercise is research. And y'know what? I love this too! I'm learning new ways of thinking and expanding my brain. If my brain can indeed only hold a finite amount of information (as Andy Rooney used to propose), then it will soon be coming out my ears!
All said, I just love being a student—researching, creating, exploring. It's something I think we could all do more of, even in an unofficial capacity.
     I've come to think of my creative time as theme-related, rather than just creating one-off, random trials. I explore my art in themes—like in my Marginal Creatures project that ended up as a book. Or in a drawing pad, in which I use the same madia—i.e. biro pen throughout one, a micro pen throughout another, soft lead in another; or exploring the same subject matter—i.e. birds, mice, fantasy designs. On the writing side, it's collecting ideas for articles, stories, academic inquiry, or a novel. On the reading side, it's all about my PhD topic, of course.
     Thinking thematically has allowed me to thoroughly explore ideas, end up with bodies of work, and achieve a sense of completion once I have that body of work (that I can either enjoy as completed or try to get published). I like this new way of creating and learning. What do you think, would that work for you?

18 February 2018

VIDEO: Derwent

If you love pencils as much as I do, you'll enjoy this peek into how Derwent Colored Pencils are made. Click the image to watch on The Kid Should See This.

17 February 2018

It's awards season!

The American Library Association recently announced this year's award-winning books in children's literature. The Caldecott winner was Matthew Cordell's Wolf in the Snow.
You can go to the ALA website to see the entire list of award-winners.

In the UK, the longlists for the CILIP Carnegie and Greenaway awards have also been announced. CLICK HERE to see that one.

CONGRATULATIONS to the winners!

15 February 2018

Carme Lemniscates' TREES

Sometimes you can feel the joy that went into the creation of a book. Such was the case in Carme Lemniscates' TREES. And it was confirmed when I watched her video tutorial (below). Her sense of PLAY is contagious! I'm thrilled she stopped by (all the way from Barcelona) to talk about her new book!
Hi Elizabeth,
Thanks for these interesting questions; a pleasure to respond to them:
e: What is your creative process/medium, can you walk us through it?
Carme:
Ideas arrive, as well as images. This is what first happens; but then I need to express them. Inspiration is one part of the whole thing; next step is to give “body” to this inspiration. Sometimes the feeling, when you are inspired, is as if you where at the top of a mountain and can see everything, and then suddenly, next second, you are at the bottom of that mountain and need to walk up to reach again that view. You have to create from zero what you have seen. This is creative expression, and you have to find, or even better let to arrive, the right word and the right image. At this stage I am somehow eclectic in my way of writing as well as choosing artistic techniques. I like to experiment with different mediums such as collage, painting, drawing, grattage, woodcut... and I like to let characters and stories to find their own voice and expression.
  e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
Carme:
In my view, everything made with soul has the magical attraction I guess you mean by “Heart Art”. And to me this quality is not restricted to Art, in my opinion, you can find “Heart/Soul Art” in a poem or in a children’s book, but also in a speech, a meal or a conversation. When we are completely committed to what we are doing then something works there that produces, I believe, this magical attraction you talk about. I had an old teacher of Chinese calligraphy when I was very young, who always said: “When you write an “A” you have to feel, to be the “A” itself.”  
e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of TREES?
Carme:
The book TREES is a direct result of my experience in Nature and with trees in particular, and the reflections I share with some children in a school workshop a few years ago. It was really a very gratifying experience!  
e: How do you advertise yourself?
Carme:
  I have a wonderful literary agent, Adriana Dominguez from Full Circle Literary, and I also have a website.
  e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?
Carme:
The best and more challenging part of my work is the responsibility —and also the joy— involved in creating contents for children. One day a child, somewhere in the world, will open that book. Children are the future, children are genuine, they have no preconceptions yet - we have the most extraordinary audience!
e: Is there something in particular about TREES you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
Carme:
On the one hand TREES has an ecological message, the book aims to encourage love, and respect for trees and Nature in general. On the other hand, by ascribing a somehow anthropomorphic qualities to trees —they have their heads in the clouds/ their feet on the ground, help one another, are generous, and so on— the book encourages reflection about some of our own attitudes as humans.
Download some fun activities to do with the book HERE.
e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
Carme:
Following TREES, I have just finished a new book for Candlewick Studio, BIRDS, which will be launched next year. Right now I am also working in new project in this line, again observing the natural world and learning from it. I can’t advance more about it at the moment, but just say I am working finding ways to encourage reflection, knowledge and love for the beautiful and magical world that surround us. I have also recently illustrated a wonderful story by Jennifer Adams - I AM A WARRIOR GODDESS, which will be launched this month by Sounds True.  
(Check out this wonderful tutorial Youtube video by Carme.)
Thank you so much Elizabeth to give me the opportunity to talk about my work.
e: Thank you for visiting, Carme!

TREES. Copyright © 2015 by Lemniscates. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.
Studio/work-in-progress pics ©Lemniscates.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...