Patrice Barton's REMARKABLY YOU

I've been a long-time fan of Patrice Barton's work. I think she captures the soft sweetness of children in her art so beautifully. So I'm thrilled to have her here today to talk about her latest book, REMARKABLY YOU, written by another creator whose work I love, Pat Zietlow Miller (who visited my blog HERE).
e: Hi Patrice! What was your creative process/medium, can you walk us through it?
Patrice:
I begin by reading the manuscript over and over, absorbing the story and the characters, letting it all simmer long before I start sketching.
      My illustration process begins with lots of sketching, finding the characters. My favorite medium is 4B graphite on design vellum and a Moo eraser. The vellum has a nice tooth, gives a nice tug against the pencil. Also it has a bright, clean contrast to the graphite.
     Next I start developing the spreads, taping them on the wall as I go, keeping an eye on the flow and pacing.
     Finally, I scan the sketches into the computer and work in Painter. I also scan in bits of paper, textures, watercolor, etc into my illustrations. Always experimenting.
e: What was your path to publication?
Patrice:
My path to publication was a winding one. After earning a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas, Austin I held a variety of jobs: house painter, needlepoint designer, copy shop tech, graphic designer, and as an illustrator for the state of Texas. Most of my time there was spent working on courtroom displays for the Texas Rangers, the Attorney General's Office, and police agencies. Although this might sound intriguing to some, I realized I was not exactly CSI material.
     My most satisfying days with the state job were the ones I spent illustrating for children: coloring books on safety precautions, bicycle safety campaigns, trading cards for the drug sniffing dogs and their Troopers to hand out on school visits. As it happened, the coloring books and safety campaigns attracted my first freelance clients. So, by day I worked on displays of fingerprints, blood splatters and crime scenes and at night at home, I freelanced illustrating for the children's market.
     After several years of building clients I took a leap of faith, left the security of my day job and went full time freelance. I signed up for a local SCBWI conference and had a wonderful time. I met other children's illustrators and writers, studied the industry, garnered a few assignments, signed with an agent and I haven't looked back.
e: What a story! Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of REMARKABLY YOU?
Patrice:
This is Pat Zietlow Miller’s story, so we’ll have to ask her about that. I sure had a blast illustrating it!
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?
Patrice:

"When you bait the hook with your heart, the fish always bite." - John Burroughs
     This is one of my favorite quotes. I'm inspired by little slices of life. A baby's belly laugh, dogs being silly, watching little kids interact as they walk home from school, baking with my son, people watching in general. All those little "everyday" moments tug at my heart and influence my work.
e: It shows in your work! How do you advertise yourself?
Patrice:
I’m very fortunate in that my agent does a wonderful job with mailings, email blasts, and visiting publishers on behalf of all her artists. I have a website and post on Instagram, and also social media with my critique group (the Girllustrators) and PBAA (Picture book Artists Association).
e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?
Patrice:
For me, the beginning stage of illustrating a picture book is both my favorite and most challenging part of creating. My favorite because the possibilities are endless. And the most challenging because, well, the possibilities are endless. So, it’s exciting, but can also be a bit overwhelming.
e: Is there something in particular about REMARKABLY YOU that you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
Patrice:
Remarkably You transcends the conventional picture book ages. It speaks to everyone. Be yourself, believe in yourself, share yourself.
e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
Patrice:
Currently I’m illustrating a delightful picture book with an amazing author, and terrific editor and art director for Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing.
e: Great! I can't wait to see it!

Coloring Page Tuesday - Star Wars

     May the books be with you.
CLICK HERE for more coloring pages.
If you use my coloring pages often, please...

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     I create my coloring pages to draw your attention to my books! For instance...
my latest picture book, Crow Not Crow - written by New York Times Best-selling author Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple.
     Kirkus calls it "a solid choice for introducing the hobby [birdwatching] to younger readers."
      Also, A Bird on Water Street is now available in Chinese!
      
     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.

Scottish Book Trust - Bookbug Bag Books Announced!

I've been waiting to share this with all of you for a year now! Do you remember when I told you I had the wonderful honor to be a part of the Bookbug Bookbag Selection Committee for the Scottish Book Trust? Well, the selected books have finally been announced! That means I get to finally share the process behind the selections.
     Again, here's the selection committee meeting at the Central Library in Edinburgh:
Before we met, each of us received an enormous box of books to go through.
All said, it was an impressive collection!
Here they are close-up.
I read every single one, including some that were just ARCs or even just paper print-outs. I debated and hemmed and hawed.
Two books stood out to me (and the committee) as absolutely, hands-down wonderful and I'm happy to say they both made it into the bags. They were ONE MOLE DIGGING A HOLE by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt, and CAR, CAR, TRUCK, JEEP by Ketrina Charman and Nick Sharratt.
That said, all of the selected books are wonderful! And I learned so much from reading all those picture books. Truly, the special ones sing out like beacons.
     Just goes to show, to be a writer of children's books, the best thing you can do is read, read, read. And as far as the Scottish Book Trust is concerned, the best way to become a better citizen is to read and read early! I was so proud to be a part of their mission!

VIDEO: Benjamin Gibeaux's SUCH A SMALL PLANET

This is a brilliantly done commentary on global warming in children's book form. Click the image to have a look at Hazel Terry's The Art Room Plant.

Curious Science, Healthy Outcomes

I am part of a grant project called "Curious Science, Healthy Outcomes”. It is made up of myself as author/illustrator; Dr Dimitra Fimi, Professor of Literature from the University of Glasgow; and Dr Chris Cunningham, a behavioural scientist from the University of Swansea.
We received funding through the University of Glasgow to begin the first of what we hope will be a series of picture books relaying odd scientific studies that resulted in medical breakthroughs. To trial our idea, we did two school visits at Pirie Park Primary based around our first project - the Gila Monster.
Scientists studied the venom of the lizard which led to breakthrough medications for diabetics. It may sound like a complicated topic, but we broke it down to simple analogies for 7 to 8-year-olds and our presentations went over GREAT!

The kids created ZINES - miniature books where that they filled in with their own drawings and information about the gila monster...
and diabetes...
how medicine works...
why we need to value nature
and what scientists do.
Fantastic!
We hope to do more with this project moving forward, so stay tuned!

(Photos used with permission, © Pirie Park Primary School.)

Friday Links List - 15 March 2019

From Brightly: Seven Picture Books to Capture the Spirit of St Patrick's Day

From Romper.com: 8 St Patrick's Day Children's Books To Properly Celebrate The Luck Of The Irish

From Hire an Illustrator: Illustrator's Survey 2018/19

From SLJ: Have Audiobooks, Will Travel (Great recommendations)

From Eliza Wheeler: Picture Books Are Not Easy To Write

From The Guardian: Show disabled people in stories, authors urge on World Book Day

From Publishers Weekly: London Book Fair 2019: Why Brexit Might Hit British Academic Publishers Hardest

Also from PW: Bethany Buck Launches Children's Imprint at Trustbridge

From The Good News Network: This Library Gives Away Hundreds of Free Prom Dresses to High Schoolers Saving Their Money for College

From The Guardian: A price to be paid for open-access academic publishing

From The Scottish Book Trust: Introducing the New Bookbug Bag Books

From The University of Glasgow Post-Graduate Research Blog: Defeating Self-Sabotage

Ximo Abadia's GOLIATH

I love the edgy and unusual books I see from Little Gestalten Press, and this latest one is a perfect example. It's GOLIATH by Ximo Abadia. He stopped by to tell us more about it...
e: What is your creative process/medium for Goliath, can you walk us through it?
Ximo:
It was a complex project, I had many ideas that I wanted to join, but they were very divided. I spent some time working with Angela Francis, the former editor at Little Gestalten, to give shape to those ideas, to condense everything in the same idea, in a great and simple Goliath. It has been a search and distillation process.
e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of Goliath?
Ximo:
You can imagine being Goliath when you put yourself in the role of the character and believe you are as big as Goliath or take part in the adventures of Gulliver and looking at people from above. And imagine me walking in my pyjamas at home with my two dogs and I’m 1,70 meters in height.
e: What was your path to publication?
Ximo:
I had a meeting with Little Gestalten at the Bologna fair last year, I had sketches and some finished page. They liked the project and after the fair, we started to work together.
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?
Ximo:
I believe in illustration and design as a language. Like a scream that someone receives. I think it’s like a message in a bottle that you do not know who it will arrive to. I try to create something simple but powerful, where the reader has to look twice. For me it is therapeutic.
e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?
Ximo:
My favorite part is the process, the search, the error until I find what you are looking for. I´m more interested in that search than in the final result.
e: Is there something in particular about Goliath you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
Ximo:
In such a strange historical moment, where we look at each other by races, we raise great walls, I would like to highlight the importance of difference, that does not separate us, it makes us stronger. That everyone is welcome.
e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
Ximo:
I’m finishing a book with Big Picture Press about the language of the universe and a book about the filmmaker George Méliès for a Spanish publisher. I do not know if I have a project of my dreams that I want to illustrate, I really enjoy the work that I am doing now and continue experimenting.
e: I can't wait to see it! Check out Ximo's very cool studio...


Coloring Page Tuesday - Leprechaun Jig

     You can learn just about anything in a book. Happy St. Patrick's Day! (Sunday)
CLICK HERE for more St Patrick's Day coloring pages.
If you use my coloring pages often, please...

Just love this one image? Consider a one-time donation...

CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week.

     I create my coloring pages to draw your attention to my books! For instance...
my latest picture book, Crow Not Crow - written by New York Times Best-selling author Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple.
     Kirkus calls it "a solid choice for introducing the hobby [birdwatching] to younger readers."
      Also, A Bird on Water Street is now available in Chinese!
      
     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.