Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Birthdays are FUN

I recently had a birthday *
This gem was given to me by my friend, Melissa Zexter.
She's responsible for other fabulous finds like, 

Pastel Bears on Scooter

Shocked & Appalled  Lamb

and Cart-Pulling Poodle


That's right and now  Meeee-OW!
What more could I ask for? 

and then,
I unwrapped this classic from my friend, Kristine Lombardi, Cannonball Simp!
If you've never read this, you should, if only to appreciate just how 
politically incorrect it is. 
I love John Burningham's illustrations. The story is funny and 
Simp is endearing. It's one of my favorites in Kristine's 
extensive vintage children's book collection and now I own it :D
Tossed, literally, into a trash dump, this fat small dog with only a stump
for a tail is left to fend for herself.

Like so many survivors, she finds her way to the circus

and you guessed it, becomes a star!
I received many lovely gifts this year and one is a bottle of red 
I'm about to open right now!

I met friends at The Jake Walk on Smith Street
in Brooklyn and enjoyed a really fun night with some of my favorite people!
The cocktails were tasty and our waitress couldn't have
been more accommodating whenever we needed an 
extra table or chair. I'll definitely go back.
Fortunately, the start to the year was a positive one because
my 1st job of the year was in a cold dark dank
stage that wreaked of sewage and mold.
Our Union safety rep had some air purifiers added and, as usual, 
we got the job done. I value that can-do attitude in the 
film/commercial business, but at times you have to wonder ... 
Oh well, it feels good to sell more soda ;)

Sunday, I attended my 1st CBIG (children's book illustrators group) meeting.
We met in member, Ruth Karpes' lovely apartment on the upper east side.
Martha Rago, Creative Director 
at Harper Collins Children's Books, talked to us about 
the essentials, what makes 
a book stand out, what she looks 
for when acquiring a story and the artwork for it. 
She gave examples with strong Narrative like 

Where the Wild Things Arethe Gold Standard. 
Maurice Sendak's text and art are in total harmony. She also shared
soon to be classics like Peter McCarty's Henry in Love

Distinctive Character driven series like, Fancy Nancy 
and Pete the Cat, which was initially self published by
Eric Litwin and James Dean.
Emphasis on Composition & Design books like,

I just stumbled across this sweet animated short
of Bob Shea's Race You to Bed 
and Melissa Sweet's Balloons Over Broadway 

She spoke about Voice and Skill, stressing that your 
Technique should be impeccable! gulp

Martha also talked about Universality
what is it about a character that touches you?
and Concept, like Herve Tullet's 
Press Here, a why didn't I think of that book! 

and Suzy Lee's Wave, among others, which uses the gutter to full effect.

She also talked about humor and favorites like,

Of course, there are practical concerns we need 
to consider as we scratch & claw our way into the publishing world.
The number of new writer/illustrators Harper Collins
 takes on each year, drum roll please............ 
about 2 to 3.

 Martha was generous with her time and gave an informative enlightening talk.
It was a treat! and there were treats :)

I was hoping to have my portfolio critiqued by her, but alas
my name was not chosen in the lucky lottery held afterwards.
It was fun to see other people's work and I'm motivated 
to make mine stronger before the SCBWI Conference in February.

I've considered adding the category of 'Sketches' to my site,
so I was happy to hear that Martha enjoys looking at an illustrator's
studies. It's a fun way to gain insight into someone's thought process, 
see how characters are developed, etc.
So today, I added some of mine. Click Here to view :)

I'm sure I've shared most of the decent ones here on Blipadee
but I like having a bunch on one simple page.
Btw, if you love children's books and haven't seen the 
Twenty two of her private "Picture Letters" to children are on display,
as well as, original art, books, toys & games. 
It's a well done, incredibly charming show.
It closes January 27th.

photo courtesy Kristine Lombardi

Oh, and make sure to ask our friend, Monique 
about the secret stairway in the Library!

Thanks for stopping by :)
xo, A

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