So what is musician-performer-dancer-composer Lindsey Stirlingdoing on this blog about children’s book illustration? She’s an artist but she works in a different medium. She hasn’t published a children’s picture book. (Not yet, anyway, but give her time.)
I’m sharing this video of her 2011 tune Shadows, because twenty-two million YouTube viewers are not wrong — it’s a great music video. It also helps me to make a point about something I see happening that I like to call:
Are you ready? (It’s a big phrase.) Ahem... The toppling of the hierarchy of learning.
Lindsey has studied classical violin since age six. Private teachers for 12 years.
But my question is…
Where did she learn to dance like this?
Answer: YouTube!She says so here on her website. She analysed music videos, studied the footwork of the dancers, put her own moves together and practiced in front of a mirror.
So my next question is:
If Lindsey can learn her choreography from the Internet, do you think you can you learn to design and improve your drawing and painting similarly?
I certainly think so! Good thing, too because in recent weeks four new art courses have launched online. Two of them, focusing on illustrating children’s books start next month (June, 2013)
Last week I interviewed these teachers to discover more. We decided to open up our discussions so that anyone watching could ask questions. You can catch the replay of our session with magical Mira hereor by clicking on the graphic below. (You’ll be asked for your e-mail address. It will be worth it.)
Mira Reisberg’s Picture Book Academy
Mira’s class promises a full-immersion experience into the world of children’s publishing, with her own video interviews with editors, art directors and author-illustrators. There will also be wide-ranging lessons on craft/technique and the business/career-building side of being a children’s book artist.
Will’s and Jake’s training will take you through design, draftsmanship, painting and building flowing storyboards and successful full-colored final art. They’ll cover how to prepare your art for a traditional print book, e-book, story app, help you to understand traditional vs digital illustration, file types, pagination, pacing, layouts — and how to build your online presence as an artist. The live interactive class is already full, but through July 15 you can still register for the lite version, to receive the recordings.
You can access our amazing two-hour session with Will and Jake hereor by clicking on the graphic below. Will and Jake each taught a very cool, generous lesson that you won’t want to miss.
Mark Mitchell, Will Terry and Jake Parker
Of the two classes, which one should you pick? It’s a no-brainer! Takeboth!
They’re by gifted people, professionally experienced artists who are also natural teachers (as you’ll see in the replays.) Their curriculums are different and as rich and rewarding as any you’d find at a brick and mortar campus. (This is not surprising, since Mira, Jake and Will all teach or have taught at brick and mortar campuses.)
And when you finish their classes, consider taking my Make Your Splashes; Make Your Marks! online course, too! It’s also about children’s book illustration. Online art classes like these rock! They’re fun. They’ll make you better. And they’re re not as difficult as teaching yourself to dance while playing the violin.
At author-illustrator Mary Sullivan’s launch party for her one word picture bookBall!(Houghton Mifflin) at The WritingBarn, in Austin Texas on May 4. Left to right Austin SCBWI Regional Advisor and author-illustrator Shelley Ann Jackson, Austin SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator Amy Farrier, author-illustrator Mary Sullivan, author-illustrator Mark Mitchell, author Julie Lake, author-illustrators Erik Kuntz and Jeff Crosby. Photo by author Bethany Hegedus.To see a recent post and video interview featuring Mary, go here.
A spread from Mary Sullivan’s new picture book Ball! published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
From Mary Sullivan’s new book Ball!
Julie Lake reads Ball! at The Writing Barn.
During Mary’s signing party at The Writing Barn, Austin SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator Amy Farrier, authors Greg Leitich Smith, Cynthia Leitich Smith and Bethany Hegedus, author-illustrators Jeff Crosby and Erik Kuntz and author Julie Lake review the early page proofs shared by Bethany from her upcoming picture book, Grandfather Gandhi, co-authored by Arun Gandhi and illustrated by Evan Turk. Due out in March, 2014.
Cover of the upcoming picture book, Grandfather Gandhi, co-authored by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, illustrated by Evan Turk.
From the upcoming picture book, Grandfather Gandhi,co-authored by Bethany Hegedus and Arun Gandhi and illustrated by Evan Turk. Scheduled for publication 3/11/2014.
Illustration by Evan Turk from the upcoming picture book, Grandfather Gandhi by Bethany Hegedus and Arun Gandhi. Scheduled for publication 3/11/2014
A bit of a high wire act, yes but he pulled it off with his usual calm and cleverness.
You can see the story somewhere in the following slide show.
The slides include some of Jeff’s original sketches and paintings from Wiener Wolf as well as for Little Lions, Bull Baiters & Hunting Hounds (Tundra Books) that he wrote and illustrated with his wife, author-illustrator Shelley Ann Jackson.
The awards were presented at the conference Sunday luncheon in Los Angeles.
Painted motion on glass
Does the Russian animator Alexander Petrov know a thing or two about using thumbnail sketches to build his stories and move them forward? Of course he does! Read about this and see his complete Academy Award – winning animated film, The Old Man and the Sea (20 minutes), based on Ernest Hemingway’s short novel here on the Illustration Course blog.
On your mouse, get set…go!
Austin SCBWI’s Digital Symposium II: Nuts and Bolts of Success is a hands-on technology workshop for illustrators and authors of all techie levels. Be it blogging or beveling, tweeting or technique sharing, hyperlinking or hashtagging, the intention of this symposium set for October 6 at St. Edward’s University is for the participants to leave with new skills to add their technological tool belts. You can download the full packet here, which includes conference info and an off-line registration sheet.
Parlay your ideas into children’s book art
“Make Your Splashes – Make Your Marks!” online course
Illustrators can now jump with both feet into digital publishing with the help of some free software and a contest launched byInteractBooks.com
“What better way to showcase all that our InteractBuilder e-book software can do on the iPad and iPhone than holding a contest to find the very best interactive book it can make?” asks the Interact Books website .
“And who better than you to produce this book by using your developer talent and our app software for the Mac and PC?”
A Youtube video doesn’t do the reading experience justice, but an actual iPad encounter with The Tortoise and the Hairpiece by Don Winn, illustrated by Toby Heflin and distributed on the Apple iTunes store demonstrates how the touch screen interactions and subtle animations of an interactive book (let’s call it an i-book) make for a whole new storytelling language.
An InteractBook, an interactive alphabet picture book on an iPhone
I-books or interactive e-books aren’t quite the same as the e-books now making headlines for trouncing paperbacks in sales at Amazon.com.
They’re a new animal, maybe a new art form nd it may be months or even years before anyone knows where this fusion of tactile interactivity and literacy is going, commercially or aesthetically speaking.
Developers and a few publishers are delving into the format, but no leader for an interactive book-building engine or platform has emerged — yet.
In the meantime Austin, Texas based-InteractBooks wants to push the innovation timeline up a little by launching the first ever contest for an interactive children’s book. Entries must be built with their free InteractBuilder software.
First place prize – 16gb white or black WIFI iPad2, or $500. lnteractBooks will also publish your title and give you a three year membership in the InteractBuilder community (a $300 value)
2nd Place wins a 32gb iPodTouch or $200* and a two-year membership to the InteractBuilder community.
3rd Place yields a $100 Best Buy Gift Card and a one-year membership to the InteractBuilder community.
All runners up and anyone entering the contest with an InteractBuilder-approved book will have a free year’s membership in the InteractBooks builders community.
The deadline is September 18 and the winner will be announced October 1, which doesn’t give you much time.
That’s why the InteractBook folks are encouraging illustrators and authors to mull over the books they’ve already done, published or unpublished, with pictures and text ready to go — and see how they might adapt their story to this new media.
“Do you have a picture book already in print that lends itself to interactivity? What about an illustrated story that’s just prime for animated graphics and coloring, tapping, and swiping on a tablet? Have you always wanted to make an e-book?” the website asks.
Yes, I’m one of the judges for the contest. So I can tell you ahead of time what we’ll be evaluating your submission on:
1) A theme that’s enhanced for readers through interactivity
2) A well-written script that is different from the norm
3) Visuals and illustrations in keeping with InteractBooks’ high-quality standards
4) The ability to leverage the technology of smartphone devices and tablets
5) Effective use of music and sound effects (yes, the books can include sound, voice and video, too!)
6) Voice narration of text recommended but not required
7) An easy to read script by a child and/or parent
Remember, education and entertainment are the basic ingredients. Try to have your picture elements’ interactive behaviors fit in with your story, or better yet, help move the story forward. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of building your own book from Photoshop files, team up with a programmer or someone who’s already working with the InteractBuilder software. Read more details on the contest press release.
And good luck! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Lisa’s dragon takes flight
You remember Lisa Falkenstern, the illustrator who needed help coming up with a name for her new picture book. She sought our suggestions and reactions to some of the picture book title ideas that she and her editor at Marshall Cavendish were batting around?
Well it’s out! And, yes, it has a title. Lisa’s celebrating with a book launch party this Saturday at Clinton Book Shop, 12 East Main St., Clinton, New Jersey. Reserve your book for signing by the author-illustrator by calling 908-735-8811.
There’s a wonderful post with pictures in the Vermont College Journal of Fine Arts, Hunger Mountain by Austin, Texas children’s book author-illustrator Don Tate. In it, he shows us how he came to grips with an assignment to illustrate Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite by Anna Harwell Celenza (Charlesbridge Publishing.)
Spread by illustrator Don Tate for the upcoming "Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite" by Anna Harwell Celenza (Charlesbridge)
Don writes that the nonfiction picture book due to be published later in the year tells how composers Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, “collaborated to reinvent a holiday tradition, by remaking Tchaikovsky’s famous Nutcracker Suite into a jazz album.”
“I’d studied jazz album covers of the 1960s, artists like Jim Flora, David Stone Martin, Cliff Roberts. They employed very loose, whimsical ink-line techniques, overlaying solid colors or washes. I wanted to achieve that same look without getting too cartoony in style,” Tate says.
After a rocky start and facing a punishingly tight deadline, Don pulled out a tour de force of brilliant ink line art with bright watercolor wash.
The post is generously illustrated with Don’s photos of his work-in-progress in his work space. You’ll see it here.
Smith, who has written successful children’s picture books as well as YA novels nutshells her script for us:
“When the beloved chef at a vampire-themed Italian restaurant is murdered, the crime scene suggests that killer was a werewolf. Unfortunately for our hero Kieren Morales—a teenage human-Wolf hybrid, he happens to be the person who discovers the body and calls the police. That makes Kieren a prime suspect,” Smith says.
“But in an underworld where vampires can take wolf form and other shifters (the werecat, werebear, werevulture…) stroll Austin’s streets, who’s to say the killer was a Wolf at all? While Kieren tries to solve the murder, his best friend Quincie is courted by a new, too-charming chef who baits the young Wolfman at every turn.”
Wiener Wolf book release (and dog costume party)
It was Saturday, July 2, 11:30 a.m. (Hot dogs were served for lunch.)
Read the team blog wrap of highlights and see work by the conference portfolio winners from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators(SCBWI) 40th Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles, which ended Monday.
Patty was recently interviewed for Mark Mitchell's online, self-paced course on children's book illustration, Make Your Splashes - Make Your Marks!You'll see an excerpt from the video discussion next time on the blog.
The newstudy team option (a near “2 for 1” deal) will come in handy as the course enters a new, expanded tech phase on illustrating for interactive e-books for smart phones and iPads. You can check that out here.
To learn a “magic secret” for improving your drawing quickly, go here.