Archive for August, 2013

A funny blog post from my friend Anna Guillotte.

Friday, August 9th, 2013

    My friend Anna Guillotte was also at the SCBWI conference.  She has written  about her impressions of the conference and created a cartoon which tackles the disturbing transformation which happens at the Saturday night partly.  And yes Sir Mix-A-Lot was involved.

Check it out: Anna Guillotte

Drawing & Cartooning Class Taught by me, Andrea Zuill

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

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Aug 9 – Sept. 31,2013, at the Escondido Arts Partnership Municipal Gallery, I will be having a retrospective of my art career.  That’s right!  I will be showing my oil paintings, quilts, fine art prints and children’s book illustrations.  And during this time I will be teaching two art classes in Drawing & Cartooning.  One is on August 17th, the second on September 14th.  For more information and to sign up for the class click here and the gallery phone number is  760-480-4101.

THIS CLASS IS FREE!  But, I would appreciate participants giving a small (or large if you feel so inclined) donation to Escondido Arts Partnership.

Please bring a sketch book and pencils.  The gallery will  have some supplies on hand just in case.  This is an all ages class and is perfect for people who want to draw but are terrified to.  It’s also great if you wish to loosen up your style.

Writers wishing to illustrate their books but feel uneasy with their drawing skills will find this class helpful.

 

 

The Last Day of the SCBWI Los Angeles Conference.

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Sorry that this cartoon is a day late. I’m extremely tired after my three days of fun.  In tweets and Facebook postings I noticed quite a few complaints from other attendees of headaches and exhaustion.  For me, I know in my regular life I get woozy at about 9:00 at night.  At the conference I stayed up past 1:00 every night.  But it was worth it.

One of the most important parts of the conference is hanging in the hotel lounge.  The Hyatt in Los Angeles  has a lounge that is comfy and perfect for chatting.  If you ever go to this conference don’t leave or go up to your room when the talks/workshops are over.  Head straight to the lobby.  Anyone with a convention tag around their neck is a friend.

Day Two of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators L.A. Convention.

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Please click on the image above to enlarge.

I’m so tired this morning I can’t believe it.  Well, that’s what I get for having fun.

The first keynote, that I made it to ( I told you I was tired) , was the Editors Panel on What makes an Evergreen and What makes a Hit. This featured Andrea Pinkney, Donna Bray, Claudia Gabel, Namrata Tripathi, Allyn Johnson and Melissa Manlove.  Here is a condensed version of what each of them said (Sorry if it’s a little cryptic).

Donna Bray – A book finds it moment.  The perfect time for it to be publish and speaks to a universal truth.

Claudia Gabel – Timing.  A close examination of a particular time period.  Have a storytelling hook. Some books are great, but come out at the wrong time.

Andrea Pinkney – Most hits are unexpected. A reader has to be smitten and fall in love with the story.

Allyn Johnston – Easier to spot hits/evergreens if you have a long relationship with an author.

Melissa Manlove – Hits are about current culture.  Evergreens are about human nature and universal truths.

Namrata Tripathi – You just can’t always tell (if a book is a hit/evergreen).  It’s a surprise.

 

The next keynote was Mac Barnett.  He is a great speaker and a lot of fun.  Here are some the high points in his talk.-

We write for the best possible audience.

Between truth and lies is art.

Metafiction:  A book that is upfront that it’s fiction.  You are able to suspend reality even when a story acknowledges it’s not real.

A four year old can get almost any joke.

Make the unbelievable real.

Write a book with new rules.

He told a story about how in one of his books there was an offer, on the inside of the dust cover, for a child to get a blue whale (A real blue whale) for free.  Several children took him up on that.  One even sent a letter to him stating he’d bet the author ten bucks that it wasn’t a real offer.  Each child got a letter stating the whales where stuck up in Sweden, where the process for expediting the whale’s shipping was going slowly.  But, if the child wanted to he or she could call up a whale and say hi.  Included in the letter was the whale’s phone number.  The children called the whale.  What they got was the sound of a whale (like whale song) followed by a beep. At the beep a child could then leave a message.  One little boy called and left messages for the whale several times over 2 years. He just wanted to say “hi!” to the whale.

 

The first workshop I went to today was given by Jennie Ho on anthropomorphic characters.  Here are her tips:

Good Character Design – Strong silhouette, dynamic shapes, colors and varied texture, and accessories

Characters – Clear and definable.

Be able to show Emotion.

Able to draw character repeatedly and consistently

Characters have good eye contact.

For a story with more than one character make a line up to make sure they go together.

Remember who (what age) the book is for.

Design characters to match audience.

Be consistent with the characters.

 

I went again to a Laurent Linn  talk.  He basically covered the business of being an illustrator.  Here is an idea of what he covered:

Talent is worth something.

You are a business.

PROMOTION for getting all kinds of illustration work:  Websites, postcards, artist resource books & websites, art reps, social networks and conferences.

CREATING ART traditional vs digital:  Doesn’t matter, just stay true to yourself.

OTHER WORK:   Consider illustrating for educational materials.

WHAT MATTERS MOST:  Storytelling (Emotion, Good Art and Creative Ideas)

Finally tonight was the traditional Saturday night party.  This year’s theme was Black & White.  Everyone came dressed in a black and white outfit or costume.  Let’s just say there where a whole bunch of penguins getting down and funky.

 

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators / Los Angeles Conference

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

To enlarge click on image.

Day One of the SCBWI Los Angeles Conference.

I’ve been asked to write a report on this year’s L.A. conference. I haven’t written a report on something since I was in school and I will not even begin to tell you how long ago that was.   I also have the attention span of a gnat.  I know this doesn’t bode well but I will give it a try anyway.

The conference started off this year with a few words from Lin Oliver ( Children’s book author, writer / producer of family films and one of the founders of SCBWI).  A few months ago I got to talk to her in person and I’ve got to say she’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.   She gave us a number of facts about who exactly was attending this conference.  And, here they are…

   There are 1266 attendee’s.

   38%  published

   62% unpublished

   There are 400 plus new attendees

   175 portfolios in the portfolio showcase.

   312 attendees for the writer’s intensive

   46 States are represented here, with the exception of both North and South Dakota.

   14 Countries are represented

   Approx.  988 women attendees, 192 Men and 86 Undeclared

   Some of the occupations represented here are Animal Communication Specialist, Auditor, Spam      Fighter, and Pickle Professional.

I haven’t check out all the numbers to make sure they work out but it does give you an idea of who is here.

The first keynote speaker was Laurie Halse Anderson (best selling children’s book author).  She talked about how the readers of our books are the most important of all readers of all (children).  She stressed the importance staying a child because “Growing up is a whole lot of Horse Shit”. And finally, she stated how important it is to sit around a campfire at least once in your life.

The next keynote speaker was Jon Scieszka (Children’s book author). His topic was Subversion, but his talk quickly headed in a different direction.  I couldn’t keep up with him as he told stories of growing up with his brothers.  But I do know that Jon and his brothers broke the youngest brother’s clavicle several times in his life.  Poor kid!

Laurent Linn (Dir. for Simon and Schusters  Books for Young Readers), always a conference favorite, gave nuts- and- bolts talk about how a book gets made from dummy to printing.  Laurent talking style is a mix of charm and no-nonsense and I find him one of the most informative of all the speakers. This talk was extremely good for people new to this business.

Finally, the last event of the night for me was the Illustrator Social.  It’s great to visit everyone but it gets so loud in the room that a bunch of us went to the hotel lobby to talk.  This hotel’s lobby is one of the best for socializing.  It’s filled with various groups of writers and illustrators experiencing the friendship and comradely that seems to come easily to people in the world of children’s books.

I know this isn’t the greatest of reports, but I’m tired now and don’t care.  So there!

 

Good Night!