Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 19, 2017

Illustrator Saturday – Rachel Dougherty

Rachel Dougherty is a Philadelphia-based illustrator, children’s author, and lifelong knowledge-hunter.  She works in acrylic paint, ink, and pencil smudges, using humor and color to inspire curious young minds. Rachel is passionate about US history, scruffy little dogs, and board games.

Clients Include: Simon Spotlight, Roaring Brook Press, Sterling Publishing, Capstone Publishing,  Flamingo Rampant Press, PREIT/Portfolio Marketing Group, Resource Real Estate, The Bryn Mawr School, University of Pennsylvania. Woman to Woman Magazine.

HERE IS RACHEL DISCUSSING HER PROCESS:

1. Sketch in graphite on paper


2. Start laying in flat ground/background color


3. Finish background flats, begin some ground detail


4. Develop ground detail, add some background detail


5. Lay in character flat color


6. Add in character detail


7. Fill in additional details, from back to front – button and flower/flower dirt


8. Paint thimble – the most frontal object


9. Tidy up any smudges, add any last minute details

How long have you been illustrating?

My first paid illustration gigs cropped up while I was still in art school, so I guess it’s safe to say it’s been close to ten years now.

What and when was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

My first book illustration was for a self-published picture book by a local writer – it was a warm, goofy, rhyming picture book called On the Chair in My Underwear inspired by the author’s family.

What made you choose to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art?

On recommendation from my high school art teacher, I attended a pre-college summer program there. Before that point I wasn’t even sure about pursuing a career in art, but after that summer I knew I couldn’t give up on it. I remember loving that the illustration department showed so many examples of illustration – editorial, children’s books, comic books, advertising art. I wanted that freedom to explore.

What types of classes did you take?

Primarily illustration classes – I took electives in drawing, painting, and even animation – though I think I was mostly looking for other ways to strengthen visual storytelling, not so much to explore other avenues of making art. I’ve always been very focused on illustration.

Do you think art school influenced your style?

Definitely. Especially because it gave me the time to learn and focus on what came before me in a structured way. I don’t think it’s possible to create art that’s entirely new – we’re all standing on the shoulders of artists and illustrators who came before us. I think the goal is to collect images and patterns and gesture from art you love with your eyes and your mind. That way it sort of seeps into your work in a way that feels organic and not derivative. Also, hundreds of hours drawing figures makes your people look a lot more human and a lot less lumpy – can’t deny that either – thanks, figure drawing!

What type of job did you do right after you graduated?

Right after graduation I worked as a press finisher at a photography laboratory making photo books and albums. It wasn’t the most fun, but it paid my rent for a while and I could go home and paint at night.

How did you come up with the idea for the illustration that you showed at the NJSCBWI conference?

What medium did you use?

The theme of the show was ‘Now run along, and don’t get into mischief’ – a line from Beatrix Potter. I liked the idea that it was a line that you might say in parting. So I worked out a scene where a woman was leaving home, tossing a ball back inside to her dog, and the phrase was lettered onto the bottom of the image. I was thinking it created a nice ambiguity as to whether the lady was going to get into mischief, or the dog was. I painted the illustration, to size, in acrylic and gouache on watercolor paper.

In 2012 you illustrated Your Life as a Pioneer on the Oregon Trail (The Way It Was) and Your Life as a Cabin Attendant on the Titanic (The Way It Was) for the same publisher how did those contract come about?

I was contacted by the art director at capstone at the time and offered the Oregon trail contract. I never asked him specifically how he found my work, but the pieces he referenced in his email were those I’d featured on a recent mailer, so that’s my best bet. I’d gotten through the sketch phase of the Oregon Trail book and was waiting for revisions, when they offered me the contract for a second book in the same series – Your Life as a Cabin Attendant on the Titanic, with the same pub date. Even though I was in a panic about trying to illustrate two books at once (my first two books!) I figured I couldn’t possibly say no. It was a crazy, stressful time, but it kind of made me feel invincible after.

In Fall 2014, Sterling Children’s Books published The Twelve Days of Christmas in Pennsylvania (The Twelve Days of Christmas in America) how did that contact come your way?

I’m pretty sure this one came through a postcard mailer as well, actually. I know that for the Twelve Days of Christmas in America Series, Sterling used authors and illustrators from the states that were featured, and I suppose stating my hometown on my postcard mailers never helped me out more than here!

How difficult was it to work on two different books at one time?

It was definitely scary – especially for what felt like my first major projects. I think one of the toughest things about illustrating is that the work seems to be like a hurry up and wait kind of pace. You sprint sprint sprint and submit. And then you wait wait wait for revisions/comments. What I tried to do with those two projects was hustle really hard on one and then work on the other while waiting for comments. It meant a long chunk of time where I couldn’t experiment with any personal work, but I think it was worth it.

You illustrated IS THAT FOR A BOY OR A GIRL? Was that a self-published book?

Is That For A Boy or a Girl was published by Flamingo Rampant Press – which S. Bear Bergman, the publisher and also the author of Is That For a Boy or A Girl, calls a micropress. They’re a sort of start-up publishing house, initially funded by kickstarter and other donations as well, trying to fill a void in children’s publishing for gender-nonconforming kids and LGBT families.

How many picture books have you illustrated?

Six.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

I think somewhere midway through my sophomore year of art school.

Have you done any book covers?

Only for books that I’ve illustrated, but I’d certainly be open to it – it seems like really challenging, interesting work with a quick turnaround.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own children’s book?

Definitely. I’m wrapping up first author/illustrator project right now – I’m working on a picture book biography of Emily Roebling that will be published by Roaring Brook Press in Winter 2019. I’ve also got an easy-to-read book coming out with Simon Spotlight in summer 2018 about Calvin Coolidge’s pets – but I’m only the author on that, not the illustrator. And I’ve got more hopeful manuscripts in the cooker! The author/illustrator thing is definitely more of a recent dream of mine – I never tried writing until the past few years. It seemed too scary, since there was so much to chew with just the art to focus on. But honestly, it’s been amazing to have so much control over my images, and the way I want the story to unfurl.

Would you be open to illustrating a book for an author who wants to self-publish?

I’d definitely never say never – and the work I’ve done in the path with authors self-publishing has been valuable and great – but I’m really trying to focus on creating my own stories now, and trying to be choosier about what kinds of illustration work I’d take on.

Have you worked with educational publishers?

Not yet, no.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines?

No, I haven’t – but that certainly seems like a great time!

Have you tried to illustrate a wordless picture book?

I haven’t, no.

Do you have an artist rep. or an agent? If so, who?

I have a literary agent – Laurie Abkemeier with DeFiore and Co.

How did you connect with them and how long have you been with them?

I queried Laurie with the first dummy I’d ever written and illustrated in Spring of 2015 – she took me on as a client and she helped me edit the story into a pitch-able state. I’ve been working with her ever since.

 

What types of things do you do to find illustration work?

Lately I haven’t been soliciting any, since I’ve been trying to focus on writing my own picture books, but in the past I contributed to group shows, sent out postcard mailers and email blasts, and did whatever I could to splash artwork around the internet.

What is your favorite medium to use?

I used to work strictly in acrylic paint, on illustration board or sometimes paper. Lately I’ve been trying to work a little looser on watercolor paper, and letting in more media (gouache, colored pencil, ink), and trying to find more opportunities for hand-lettering as well.

Do you have a studio set up in your home?

I do – we have a second bedroom in my apartment, where my two desks (one for painting, one for computer/scanner), flat file, picture book collection, scanner, computer, and paints live.

What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

It seems too obvious to say my computer – we all need that! But I guess for the sake of originality, I’ll say my scanner, since I’m still painting old-school.

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

Oh, I wish. I so admire those people who are strict enough with themselves to allot an hour a day. But with me it’s always feast or famine. I get into an obsessive cycle where I’m working all the time and I’m reading all the time and I’m talking about it all the time, and then I have weeks where I need to play and reset.


Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

So much research! That’s definitely part of the obsession. I collect folders and folders of reference photos and read as many relevant books as possible and create color palette studies and character sketch studies and take reference photos. I’ve read that illustrators used to call these reference collections their “morgues.” I think the morgues are my favorite parts. Sometimes I think it gets to be too much, but it all goes into the primordial soup that makes your work more authentic.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Undoubtedly – I really can’t fathom what it would have been like to walk into a publishing house and leave my portfolio on the art director’s desk and then wait by the phone for a call!

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

For final art, I use it very little. I use Photoshop to color-correct my scans and make sure the digital image matches the original painting. But in the sketch phase, I use a lot of Photoshop – I like to make sketch revisions in Photoshop, either by scanning in a patch, or drawing right on top of the original.

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

Yes, I use a Wacom Intuos Pro, and it’s a total dream for sketching. I rarely, if ever, use it for final art, but it saves me so, so much time in the sketch revision phase.

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

I’m on my way to fulfilling my dream to write and illustrate! I’d like to keep rolling with that dream. Maybe someday I’d like to try and write some fiction? I’ve been really immersed in the nonfiction picture book world for the past couple years.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on a picture book bio of Emily Roebling, which I mentioned above. The title is a little bit in limbo at the moment. I’m so crazy excited about it, though! I’ve really never been so enthusiastic about a project.

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

Rives BFK is my favorite paper to work on, hands down. Whether I’m drawing in ink or painting in acrylic – it’s tough and durable but silky-soft. It doesn’t warp under acrylic or watercolor, and doesn’t puncture under a sharp, hard pencil either. I never draw in charcoal anymore, but it makes your charcoal drawings practically glow.

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

Just keep showing up – meet other illustrators, go to conferences, read as many books as you can. I think the better you know the market, the better you can find your place in it.

Thank you Rachel for sharing your talent, process, journey, and expertise with us. Please make sure you keep in touch and share your future successes with us. To see more of Rachel’s work, you can visit her at her website: http://www.racheldougherty.com/

For more frequent updates and artwork, follow Rachel on Twitter and Instagram!

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Rachel. I am sure she’d love it and I enjoy reading them, too. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 18, 2017

August Featured Agent – Larissa Helena Part Two Interview

When Larissa Helena finally announced her decision to major in Literature, her family and friends were too polite to reply “duh”. But everyone already knew, even then, she had no choice but to keep exploring the magic of words. A few diplomas, translations and years working as an editor later, she packed her suitcases and ended up in a city so nice they named it twice. Larissa found her new literary home at Pippin, where she is now Associate Literary Agent & Manager of Subsidiary Rights, and feels lucky to be surrounded by words and people who understand and share her passion.

Larissa Helena, Agent, Pippin Properties. Larissa Helena’s passion is fiction: between Brazil, France and the United States, her only certainty is that she wants to be around books. Larissa has been an Executive Editor, a Translator, a Researcher, a Foreign Rights Manager and an Agent. She’s open to books for all ages, and wants diverse narratives of all kinds. Voices rarely seen in literature, unconventional stories, quirky characters. Her favorite kind of book doesn’t try to follow a pattern or play by the rules. Favorite genre? Genre bending.

For submissions, e-mail your first chapter along with a synopsis and query letter to lhelena@pippinproperties.com. Twitter: @larilena

HERE IS PART TWO OF MY INTERVIEW WITH LARISSA:

Do you let people know if you are not interested in what they sent?

I get an enormous amount of submissions, and it’s really hard to find the time to read everything… to individually let everyone know what I am not considering is almost impossible, especially because I like to give personal notes as much as I can, so I save my replies for the special cases.

How long does it usually take to respond to requested material?

I also double as a sub-rights agent, so it really depends on what’s happening on that side of things. I aim for something between a couple of weeks to a month.

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

Believe it or not, a few your instead of you’re and its instead of it’s and vice-versa.

Any pet peeves?

I really dislike when someone tells me “You’re going to love this”. I much prefer when people tell me why they think their story is different and worth telling, why they’re in love with it!

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?

I do! I was an editor for years before I joined Pippin, so I can’t help myself.

Do you have an editorial style?

Yes, editing through dialogue. I honestly believe writers have the keys to their own stories. I will let them know what isn’t working, and we’ll talk until we can figure something out. It’s worked wonders until now, and the perk is that the authors always still recognize themselves in the final manuscript of the work.

How many clients do you have or want to build up to?

Pippin is a boutique agency, with a very select list of clients. I still haven’t found the one I’d like to represent, but I’m actively looking through my submissions in the hope that will happen soon!

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR PART THREE OF INTERVIEW:


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES For FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “August 2017  Critique” and paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it’s a picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page). REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED!

Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.
PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: August 24th.
RESULTS: September 1st.

Please only submit one first page a month, but do try again if your first page wasn’t one of the pages randomly picked. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 17, 2017

Book Giveaway – The Waves End by Patricia Donovan

Author Patricia Perry Donovan new book AT WAVES END came out this week. Patricia sent me a copy a few months back and I really enjoyed reading the characters who have to struggle with the aftermath of a hurricane that hits the Jersey shore. Something many of us on the East Coast also suffered through. During this dark time the main character discovers things that were missing in her life. A nice story of survival and hope.

All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

After a childhood as unpredictable as the flip of a coin, Faith Sterling has finally found her comfort zone in the kitchen of an upscale Manhattan restaurant. A workaholic chef, at least there she’s in control. So when her free-spirited and often-gullible mother, Connie, calls to announce that she’s won a bed-and-breakfast on the Jersey Shore, Faith’s patience boils over. Convinced the contest is a scam, she rushes to Wave’s End to stop Connie from trading her steady job for an uncertain future.

When a hurricane ravages the coast, Faith is torn between supporting the shore rescue and bailing out her beleaguered boss. But the storm dredges up deceptions and emotional debris that threaten to destroy the inn’s future and her fragile bonds with her mother.

As the women struggle to salvage both the inn and their relationship, Faith begins to see herself and Connie in a new light—and to realize that some moments are better left to chance.

BOOK’S JOURNEY:

My journey to AT WAVE’S END began several years ago, when a friend told me she was thinking of entering a ‘Win a New England Bed and Breakfast’ essay contest. Ultimately, she did not enter, but the thought of taking a life-changing risk like that intrigued me.  What would it be like to be handed the keys to a whole new life? 

Although I did not know it then, this contest would provide the framework for my second novel, fueling Connie Sterling’s thirst for adventure and her desire for the fictional Mermaid’s Purse inn. The contest also would spark conflict between Connie and her adult daughter Faith. 

At the same time, I had become fixated on a lovely, tarnished gold locket that had languished in my mother’s jewelry box since I was a child.  It had belonged to one of her aunts, she told me. (My maternal grandmother was the eldest of 18 children.)  My mother gave me the locket several years ago, and I began to wear it.  Its unique design prompted frequent comments, so I decided to use it as a talisman for Faith and Connie’s relationship in the book. 

By now, the structure and conflict for my as-yet-untitled second novel had begun to gel. Then, Hurricane Sandy struck our Jersey Shore community in October 2012. When Sandy hit, I was in the midst of polishing my debut novel, DELIVER HER. Our home was spared, but we lost power for nearly two weeks.  During that time, and for months that followed, we volunteered wherever we could.  I wrote a few short stories based on my experiences or those I heard about. Some of these ultimately inspired events in AT WAVE’S END. 

In the storm’s aftermath, survivors suffered long delays for insurance adjustments and funding. In the meantime, however, they needed to eat. Churches in town became information and support centers where those affected could gather, eat and recharge.  Food provided sustenance and comfort. It seemed only natural, then, to make both the protagonist Faith and the secondary character David chefs, and to give them ample chance to show off their culinary skills. At last count, there are more than sixty references to food in the book! 

Having safely delivered DELIVER HER to my publisher, I returned to book two, which still lacked a setting. But with the storm’s devastation fresh in my mind, I knew there was no other place for Connie’s ramshackle inn than at the Jersey Shore.  

The fictional Mermaid’s Purse seemed the ideal shelter for this cast of disparate characters to recover—and for Connie and Faith to repair their relationship.

 

PATRICIA’S BIO:

Patricia Perry Donovan is an American journalist who writes about healthcare. Her second novel, AT WAVE’S END, arrives in August 2017 from Lake Union. Her fiction has appeared in Gravel Literary, Flash Fiction Magazine, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable and other literary journals. The mother of two grown daughters, she lives at the Jersey shore with her husband. Connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PatriciaPerryDonovanBooks/ and on Twitter at @PatPDonovan.
WEB SITE: https://patriciaperrydonovan.com

Thank you Patricia for sharing your book and journey with us and allowing one lucky winner to enjoy your book. A wonderful follow up book to DELIVER HER.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 16, 2017

Why Poetry by David L. Harrison

Evan Robb at his educational site posed the question – “Why poetry?” to David Harrison. If you want to know, asking a great poet is the way to go. Here is what David wrote for his site.

“Why poetry?” the response may be a surprised look, the sort you’d expect if you’d asked, “Why do you breathe?” Perhaps it’s better to ask, “Why poets?” Who are these passionately dedicated people who throw themselves into the slow, tedious business of making poems? Good poetry is hard to write, selling poetry is next to impossible, and poets rarely make much money. So why poetry, why poets, and why should you care?

I can’t speak for other poets (although I bet they’d all answer in much the same way), but I love the challenge of beginning with an idea and facing all those decisions that must be made before I wind up with a finished poem. In music, the same notes in different combinations produce jazz, Dixieland, blues, marches, and symphonic works. In poetry, the same words in different combinations produce a marvelous variety of verse. Most days I work twelve hours, much of it writing poetry. I’m a freelance writer. No one is going to pay me if I don’t produce. Few would care or notice if I stopped. I work alone. If I spend hours trying to decide between one rhyme or another, struggling with a stubborn meter, seeking a stronger noun, searching desperately for just the right simile – who cares? Well, first of all, I care. No poet worth his salt is ever going to stop working on a poem until he reads it aloud one more time and loves what he hears.

Ask a teacher who has learned that poetry is one of the best tools in the toolbox for teaching fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and love of language, “Why poetry?” You might hear, “Couldn’t do without it!” At least I hope that’s what you hear! Teachers who routinely use poetry in their classrooms know that the rhymes and cadences of structured language make it easier to remember than prose and more fun to read repeatedly. Teachers who invite their students to write poems of their own know that children’s poetry offers a wonderful opportunity to share the rich diversity of our people.

But someone else cares too. Ask a third grader who has had positive experiences with poetry at home and/or school, “Why poetry?” You might hear, “I like poems. Sometimes they’re funny and they make me laugh.” What that third grader or first grader or fifth grader doesn’t realize is that poetry’s nuances, metaphors, echoing sounds, song-like qualities, rhymes, and cadences are providing much more than entertainment. Young readers have no idea how hard the poet worked to make them laugh or think or see something in a new light or provide them with examples of language used beautifully. Why should they? It’s their right to read good poems.

Why poetry? Ask a poet or a teacher if you want to. I’m going with the third grader.

© David L. Harrison

David Harrison has published ninety-two titles that have earned dozens of honors, including the Christopher Award for The Book of Giant Stories. His work has been translated into twelve languages, anthologized more than one hundred eighty-five times, and appeared in over eighty magazines and professional journals. In Springfield, MO, David Harrison Elementary School is named for him. His poem, “My Book,” is sandblasted into The Children’s Garden sidewalk at the Burton Barr Library in Phoenix, Arizona and painted on a bookmobile in Pueblo, Colorado. David’s poetry inspired Sandy Asher’s popular, award winning school plays, Somebody Catch My Homework and Jesse and Grace and has been set to music performed for numerous live audiences. In 2007, the Missouri Librarian Association presented David with its Literacy Award for the body of his work. David holds science degrees from Drury and Emory universities and honorary doctor of letters degrees from Missouri State University and Drury University. He is poet laureate of Drury. David lives with his wife, Sandy, a business owner and retired guidance counselor. He is working on many new books.

If you like poetry check out David blog and participate in his “Poem of the Month.”

Website: http://www.David L. Harrison.com
Blog: http://www.davidlharrison.wordpress.com

EVAN ROBB is an author, principal, and speaker. He is a middle school principal in Clarke County, Virginia. He is a committed educator, progressive thinker, author, speaker, and fitness enthusiast.

He says, “All learning begins with a question.”

The Robb Review Blog contains his thoughts and thoughts of his guests about preparing our students for their future. His blog is focused on looking ahead, not looking back.

Blog: http://therobbreviewblog.com/

Twitter: @ERobbPrincipal

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 15, 2017

SCBWI Emerging Voices

The SCBWI established the On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award in 2012 with funding from Martin and Sue Schmitt of the 455 Foundation. The grant was created to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books. SCBWI reserves the right not to confer this award in any given year.

Deadline:
Applications accepted between September 15 and November 15, 2017 only.

Award:
Two writers or writer/illustrators will each receive:
– A paid trip to the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles (transportation, and hotel shared with other winner as appropriate)
– Tuition to the SCBWI Summer Conference (Excluding Portfolio Showcase. Intensives depending on availability)
– Manuscript Consultation at the Summer Conference
– A press release
– Publicity through SCBWI social media
– Manuscript included on our secure website for a selected list of publishing professionals to view
– Guidance available from SCBWI staff on professional career development during the winning year.

Eligibility:
Any writer or writer/illustrator from an ethnic and/or cultural background that is traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America. (Including but not limited to: American Indian, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander)
The manuscript must be an original work written in English for young readers and may not be under contract.  The applicant must be over 18, be unpublished (self-published is not considered published for this award), and should not yet have representation.

Guidelines:
All applications will be accepted via e-mail only between September 15 and November 15 at Voices@scbwi.org and must include the following:
In the body of the e-mail:
1. An autobiographical statement and career summary in less than 250 words.
2. Why your work will bring forward an underrepresented voice in less than 250 words.
3. A synopsis of your manuscript in less than 250 words.
Attached to the e-mail:
4. A PDF of your entire manuscript.  If the manuscript is not complete, it is not eligible.
The winners will be announced January 25, 2018 and the award presented at the 2018 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles.  The Winners will also be mentioned at the New York conference, February 2-4, 2018.
When your work is published the author/illustrator should include in the acknowledgement “This book was made possible in part by a grant from SCBWI”

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 14, 2017

Book Giveaway – Chicken Wants A Nap by Tracy Marchini

Agent and Author Tracy Marchini has a new book CHICKEN WANTS A NAP hits the book shelves tomorrow. Tracy is giving away a copy to one lucky winner.

If you would like to win a copy, please leave a comment, reblog, tweet, or talk about CHICKEN WANTS A NAP on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.

DESCRIPTION:

The sun is up, and a happy barnyard chicken is looking forward to a comfortable day—preferably one that includes a relaxing nap. However, every time she tries to find a good spot, something goes wrong. The sun disappears and is replaced by rain. She is driven out of the warm barn by obnoxious noises and smells. The dog is too curious for her to stay on the porch. Finally, the rain stops, and the worms come out. This is good news for the chicken—but bad news for the worms!

BOOK’S JOURNEY TO PUBLICATION: 

I guess Chicken’s story starts in 2012, when I was working part-time and earning my MFA in Writing for Children full time. My professor, Anna Staniszewski, had assigned us to write about a character’s best or worst day. I was absolutely exhausted that evening, and the best thing in the world to me at the time (and plenty of times since!) was a nap. So out popped this line – “Chicken wants a nap.”

I started to write about this chicken who was in desperate need of a nap, but kept being disturbed by the barnyard around her.

(Years before, I had attended a talk by Brian Selznick, and he mentioned that one of his inspirations for The Invention of Hugo Cabret was Remy Charlip’s Fortunately – where it looks like the character will be okay, and then a page turn delivers a new impending disaster. I loved this idea at the time, and I feel like it must have been sitting there in my subconscious while I drafted Chicken.)

So it was good news, bad news, good news for Chicken, depending on the page turn. And when I finished, Chicken was about 166 words.

It wasn’t like my earlier picture book manuscripts, but it felt like there was something there.

But, I was in grad school and had to keep working on other projects. So Chicken stayed on my laptop for three years.

When I saw a call for submissions from Amicus Ink, a sister company of Creative Editions, I reached back out to Tom Peterson (who I had previously worked with and sold a book to as a literary agent’s assistant back in 2008) and sent him the manuscript for Chicken in November 2015. In January, I received an offer!

So, after doing a very, very annoying song and dance that went something like this:

Me: Guess what?

:::Doesn’t wait for an answer from her loved ones:::

Me: I sold a booooo-ook!  I sold a booooo-ook!

I accepted the offer, finalized the contract and went to work on edits with my editor, Amy Novesky.

We switched Chicken Wants a Nap from first person to third and worked to tweak the refrain to make it just right. (As I’m sure all my fellow picture book writers can attest, it’s amazing how much time you can spend working on just a few lines!)

Once we finalized the manuscript, it was time to move forward with the art. It was so exciting to get the digital proof and see what Monique Felix had done with the story – and even better to get a box of author copies a few weeks ago and flip through the physical pages.

The book is so beautifully produced – the pages are nice and thick, I love the ‘hidden’ spot art on the hardcover under the jacket, and everything about it just looks and feels pleasing to me as a fellow picture book aficionado!

 

TRACY’S BIO:

Tracy Marchini is a Literary Agent at BookEnds Literary, representing fiction, non-fiction and illustration for children and teens. Prior to joining BookEnds, Tracy worked as a freelance editor, a Literary Agents Assistant, a children’s book reviewer, and a newspaper correspondent.

Tracy’s debut picture book, Chicken Wants A Nap, is forthcoming from Creative Editions (August 2017). She holds an M.F.A in Writing for Children and can be found at http://www.tracymarchini.com or on Twitter at @TracyMarchini.

Thank you Tracy for sharing your book and journey with us and of course, participating in the book giveaway. It looks like so much fun. I am sure it will be a big success.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 13, 2017

Pockets No Fee Writing Contest

DEADLINE: Must be postmarked no later than August 15.

• Please indicate FICTION CONTEST on both the outside envelope and the cover sheet.

There is no set theme and no entry fee.

• Stories should be 750–1,000 words. (Stories shorter than 750 words or longer than 1,000 words will be disqualified.)

• Award: $500 and publication in the magazine.

• Stories must be previously unpublished.

• Please include an accurate word count on your cover sheet.

• Multiple submissions are permitted, but please submit only your best work.

• Past winners are ineligible.

• The winner will be announced November 1 at pockets.upperroom.org.

• Entries with an SASE will be returned.

• If you have questions, please email us at pockets@upperroom.org.

SEND ALL MANUSCRIPTS WITH SASE TO:
Lynn W. Gilliam, Editor
P. O. Box 340004
Nashville, TN 37203-0004

Please do NOT send submissions via FAX or e-mail.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 12, 2017

Illustrator Saturday – Kelsey Griffin-Riley

Kelsey Griffin-Riley is an illustrator living and working in Brooklyn, New York. I grew up in Germany and Belgium before moving to the US to pursue my love of art at the Savannah College of Art and Design where I graduated from in 2010. She drawing and painting as a child. So I might say as long as I can remember! I started selling some of my watercolors in high school, in college I started getting a few small jobs, and its grown from there.

Kelsey has a line of greeting cards can be found at the amazing and two published books:
Goldie Takes a Stand, Written by Barbara Krasner (Kar-Ben, Fall 2014)
Other Wordly, (Chronicle Books, Fall 2016)

Here are  some of your Clients: Harvard Magazine, Chronicle Books, Charleston Magazine, The South Magazine, BHLDN, Anthropologie, Thriving Family, Kar-Ben, You and Your Wedding, Waitrose, Back in the Day Bakery, Venture Magazine, The Paris Market, Red Cap Cards, Response Magazine, Albert Whitman & Company, Il Corriere della Sera.

HERE IS KELSEY SHOWING HER PROCESS:

Here are a series of sketches and the final piece I created for a spread in Other Wordly.

I start off with rough (very rough!) thumbnails

I slowly move through a series of more detailed sketches. I definitely had a few more versions in between these all while working, but unfortunately I don’t hang on to all of my preliminary work.

Final sketch.

The final pieces was created with gouache and ink pen with a little bit of editing in Photoshop.

How long have you been illustrating?

I always enjoyed drawing and painting as a child. So I might say as long as I can remember! I started selling some of my watercolors in high school, in college I started getting a few small jobs, and its grown from there.

 

What and when was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork? 

When I was probably 12 my mom paid me to add illustrations around the cards she had written out in the books where she kept her recipes.

Do you think growing up in Germany and Belgium is reflected in your work? 

Absolutely! I always return to the visuals and emotions of where I grew up for inspiration in my work.

Why did you choose to attend the SCAD in Savannah, GA?

I knew I wanted to study art, and as an American citizen I knew I would study in the US. I heard great things about the school and liked that they were so well rounded for being an art school and offered so many specific creative majors.

What did you study there? 

I took a little while being sure what exactly I wanted to major in, which now seems funny to me, because of COURSE I wanted to be an illustrator! But I took a lot of classes in fashion and some in photography as well, all of which helped me grow creatively.

Do you think art school influenced your style? 

It was definitely the most important period of growing. It was great being around other creatives all exploring and developing our visual voices.

What type of job did you do right after you graduated?

Right after graduating I had a job as a visual merchandiser at a wonderful store in Savannah while also working to create new pieces for my portfolio. It was actually a really formative time and my day job helped me grow creatively. I slowly started getting some editorial jobs and my first book project, Goldie Takes a Stand came a couple years after graduating.

Why did you move to Brooklyn?

My husband and I always knew we wanted to move to New York City. Its an exciting, engaging place to be and we appreciate the closeness here to jobs and creative opportunities, great food and international communities. 🙂

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children? 

That dream has always been there- but has grown stronger and stronger. Its such a great platform to share visuals and exciting way to communicate. I adored children’s books when I was young, and still do. Its just such a special thing to get to be a part of.

What was the title of the first picture book you illustrated?

Goldie Takes a Stand

How did that job come your way?

An editor at Kar-Ben reached out to Christina to see if I was available to work on this story.

How did you get the job to illustrate Goldie Take a Stand? 

Through Christina and CATugeau.

How long did the publisher give you to illustrate the book?

 That book was about a year in total I believe.

Is Other-Wordly: words both strange and lovely from around the world a book of poems?

It’s actually a collection of wonderful words from different languages that don’t have a direct translation in English. Really beautiful evocative, sometimes playful and often emotional words. It was a really special project to get to work on.

Did the publisher give you more time to illustrate the book, since it is 64 pages?

I was probably working on it for two years. There was a lot of back and forth. It was a great process of picking out and putting together words, back and forth with layout and sketches and then final art, edits and working on the cover for the book.

How did you connect with Christina Tugeau and get her to represent you?

She came to review portfolios at a career day at SCAD, and we met through that! She signed me to CATugeau shortly before I graduated.

You say you collect material for collage work. When did you start doing collage?

I have always loved collecting materials for collage. A few years into my time at SCAD I finally put together that I could actually use these pieces in my illustration work and I loved it.

Have you done any book covers?

I have. I really enjoyed working on the cover for Rooting For Rafael Rosales which came out this year, and I’m currently working on another one.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own children’s book?

I definitely do. I’m working on several right now and have more ideas in the works!

 

Have you illustrated a book for an author who wants to self-publish?

I have done some personal book projects for people in the past. But don’t imagine taking on more in the future as I am more focused on pursuing working on my own stories, or ones that editors reach out to me with.

Do you still illustrate greeting cards?

I do. I absolutely love working with Red Cap Cards. They are wonderful people and such a pleasure to work with.

Have you worked with educational publishers?

I haven’t yet, but would definitely be open to it!

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines?

I haven’t.  All my editorial work so far hasn’t been specifically for children’s magazines, although often the illustrations do feature children!

Have you tried to illustrate a wordless picture book?

I would love to try my hand at it some day, but I haven’t yet.

What do consider to be your biggest success?

Other Wordly was really satisfying to see once it all came together in print. It ended up being a very special, personal project to me and I’m grateful Chronicle approached me to work on it. I’m SO excited to currently be working on a project I am both writing and illustrating, that I cant yet share anything about but am thrilled for.

Do you do anything to find illustration work or is that totally Christina’s job?

If I reach out to editors its always once I’ve dialogued with Christy and Christina about it first. The main thing I’ve been working on more and more is creating dummy books of my own stories to then give them to pitch to publishing houses.

What is your favorite medium to use?

Lately I use mostly all gouache. But I also like using ink, some pencil and collage sometimes.

Has that changed over time?

Definitely. I used to use more watercolors and washes, and more ink lines and collage. I will still use all of that on occasion- but lately gouache has been great.

Do you have a studio set up in your home?

I do, although I sometimes move around the house and often take over the kitchen table.:

What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

I’ve got a growing shelf of children’s books I love pouring through, and I love listening to books on tape while I work ( lately Agatha Christie’s books)

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

There is no set schedule, although I’m trying to develop a routine more and more. I always feel better if I get up and get to work early, but sometimes its the reverse where the day starts slowly but I work late into the night.

Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

Definitely do a lot of visual research- especially for projects that require historical accuracy. And if its a gesture that needs figuring out I’ll take a snapshot, or have my husband help me pose.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Its definitely a great way to be able to reach out and connect with people, and has so many great platforms on which to share work- especially through Instagram.

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

I always scan in and clean up and ,when needed, edit my pieces in Photoshop once they are finished.

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

I don’t.

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill? 

There are so many ideas for stories I have in my mind that I feel very passionately about wanting to develop into picture books. I’d love to keep growing that  and to really develop a confident approach to creating them.

What are you working on now?

I’m super excited to be working on a couple of children’s books! Sorry I can’t share more details than that- I wish I could! I think I’m allowed to say though- that one is of a story I wrote myself, and the other is not.

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

I love using Holbein’s Acryla gouaches, and Windsor and Newton’s peet brown ink. 

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

Just keep creating and don’t give up! Things take a while. Pursue your own ideas and create pieces you would imagine getting to make for a dream project and then share them online.

 

Thank you Kelsey for sharing your talent, process, journey, and expertise with us. Please make sure you keep in touch and share your future successes with us. To see more of Kelsey’s work, you can visit her at her website: http://www.kgriley.com/

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Kelsey. I am sure she’d love it and I enjoy reading them, too. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

When Larissa Helena finally announced her decision to major in Literature, her family and friends were too polite to reply “duh”. But everyone already knew, even then, she had no choice but to keep exploring the magic of words. A few diplomas, translations and years working as an editor later, she packed her suitcases and ended up in a city so nice they named it twice. Larissa found her new literary home at Pippin, where she is now Associate Literary Agent & Manager of Subsidiary Rights, and feels lucky to be surrounded by words and people who understand and share her passion.

Larissa Helena, Agent, Pippin Properties. Larissa Helena’s passion is fiction: between Brazil, France and the United States, her only certainty is that she wants to be around books. Larissa has been an Executive Editor, a Translator, a Researcher, a Foreign Rights Manager and an Agent. She’s open to books for all ages, and wants diverse narratives of all kinds. Voices rarely seen in literature, unconventional stories, quirky characters. Her favorite kind of book doesn’t try to follow a pattern or play by the rules. Favorite genre? Genre bending.

For submissions, e-mail your first chapter along with a synopsis and query letter to lhelena@pippinproperties.com. Twitter: @larilena

HERE IS PART ONE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH LARISSA:

Are there any genres that are less interesting to you?

I’ve just never learned to appreciate historical fiction… I’ve tried many times, but I only see myself enjoying it when the ghost of a famous writer appears in the story!

Do you have any story or theme that you wished someone would submit?

Yes! Since I moved to the US, I’ve heard so many adults who never learned to speak their immigrant parents’ languages as children. Their only memories of that language was of hearing their parents speak it when they didn’t want the kids to understand. In their haste to become Americans, these parents would make an effort not to teach their children much about their heritage, and all of the memories these kids have of the land of their parents is that Secret Language. I had a similar thing with my grandparents: they moved from a very poor city in the Northeast of Brazil to Rio de Janeiro. When I slept at their little house in the favelas, I would fall asleep listening to the musical whispering of their accents as they talked in bed. I would love nothing more than seeing a picture book about recognizing, cherishing and reconnecting to that Secret Language that speaks to our hearts and blood.

What do you like to see in a submission?

I love it when there’s some mention as to why the author wants to work with me, specifically – maybe because they saw me on twitter, anything goes. A little personal note really counts!

How important is the query letter?

Very important, I’d say it makes 40% of a good submission (the most important part, of course, is the manuscript!). A good opening can make an agent stop and pay attention to the concept or the book. But careful: it can also trip you up! Make sure it’s not too long or confusing, or it will be bad publicity.

Any tips on how an author can get you to ask to see more?

Don’t try to cram as much as you can into the pages you’re submitting – instead, aim for the cliffhanger, make me crave to read the rest of your story.

How far do you normally read before you reject a submission?

I try to read as much as I can of everything, but I can usually tell when I won’t want to keep going within the first paragraph. Isn’t that often how people decide whether they want to read a book, too? After being lured in by the cover, the next step is to open it and read a little bit. And if I – the person who really wants to find new clients – am not crazy to keep going, who will?

Would you lose interest in a submission if the writer missed correcting a few misspelled words?

A few as in a couple, or as in a dozen? I think a lot of misspellings will discourage any reader, but I am a foreigner myself and I know good writing does not necessarily mean perfect grammar. I’ll definitely keep reading if it’s an incredible story!

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR PART TWO OF INTERVIEW.


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES For FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “August 2017  Critique” and paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it’s a picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page). REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED!

Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.
PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: August 24th.
RESULTS: September 1st.

Please only submit one first page a month, but do try again if your first page wasn’t one of the pages randomly picked. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 10, 2017

Book Giveaway – Pug & Pig Trick or Treat by Sue Lowell Gallion

When I noticed Sue Lowell Gallion had a Halloween book coming out, I contacted her to see if she would like to be featured on Writing and Illustrating and participate with a book giveaway for PUG & PIG TRICK OR TREAT. Now you might be thinking Halloween is in October, but I realized last year, featuring a Halloween book in October was too late, so this year some lucky winner will be able to enjoy this book with plenty of time before Halloween and after.

Joyce Wan created a wonderful READ Poster (See bottom) and Sue will add that to the book giveaway and she will send the READ poster to two additional winners.

If you would like to win a copy, please leave a comment, reblog, tweet, or talk about PUG & PIG TRICK OR TREAT on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Pug and Pig are back for a heartwarming Halloween adventure in this adorable picture book that’s perfect for pet lovers of all ages.

Halloween night has come to Pug and Pig’s house, and the darling duo is sporting matching costumes. The costumes are cozy. They glow in the dark. And they have masks! There’s only one problem—Pug hates wearing his. So he decides to rip it up and stay home. But Halloween just isn’t any fun for Pig without Pug! Can Pug find a way to be a good friend and get back into the Halloween spirit?

BOOK’S JOURNEY:

In October 2013, a few weeks after Beach Lane Books bought PUG MEETS PIG, my next-door neighbor came over with her dog, Barkley, dressed in a new Halloween costume.  This was far from Barkley’s first fashion show — Barkley’s family loves to dress Barkley up, and Barkley, a tiny, tireless terrier mix, bounces about in any outfit, whether it’s a Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader dress or flowered pajamas. However, my family’s dog, Tucker, a black lab mix, feels differently. Tucker’s response to wearing costume or any kind of clothing is to freeze. He looks like a miserable statue until he’s released from costume confinement. Even then, it takes him a while to recover.

So Barkley zoomed about the yard in her glow-in-the-dark skin-tight skeleton costume, and Tucker looked at her as though she was an embarrassment to all of dog-dom. As we laughed, I thought how Pug and Pig would react to the scenario, and over the next few days, I wrote and polished this story. I shared it with my critique partners and with my agent at the time, Karen Grencik. Karen thought the manuscript was funny, but that a Halloween theme could limit the market. And I knew it was unlikely Beach Lane would buy a second book when they had just acquired the first. So I filed the manuscript away. After all, I was absolutely thrilled about the sale to Beach Lane Books (my debut picture book, which was a result of a manuscript critique with Allyn Johnston at the 2013 SCBWI LA conference!) and that Joyce Wan had agreed to be the illustrator.

A year later, Andrea Welch, our editor, shared a sketch dummy for PUG MEETS PIG with me. The visual story, with Joyce’s roly-poly characters and the way she showed Pug and Pig’s emotions with her amazing line work, made me think about the Halloween manuscript again. When I took another look at the text, I liked how the story further developed the two main characters. I tweaked it a bit more, and asked Karen Grencik to send it on to Andrea with the full understanding that the timing could be entirely wrong, a Halloween book too narrow, etc. Karen sent the text to Andrea that day, which was a Monday. On Wednesday, Andrea replied. “Oh my gosh, Karen – we LOVE THIS! What a great follow-up!” When Joyce agreed to come on board again, Pug and Pig had a second adventure on the way. Wouldn’t it be nice if our business always worked this way??

Just before PUG MEETS PIG launched last September, Andrea sent me a sketch dummy for PUG & PIG TRICK OR TREAT. I was charmed by Pug and Pig’s night world. The “Joyce Wan-ized” sunflower scarecrow and Pug and Pig jack-o-lanterns are adorable.  I don’t think Halloween has ever been so cute.

Doesn’t Pug look absolutely pitiful squished and squashed into his skeleton costume? Tucker would agree.

Pug takes care of his dilemma by destroying his costume, which then creates a new problem for Pig. Pug’s solution to Pig’s problem is in the muddy corner of the back yard. By creating his own costume (as Pig’s muddy shadow), Pug makes sure his pal isn’t left to celebrate the holiday on her own.

Don’t you love this spread with its tribute to children’s literature greats?

 The twist in the last spread of the sketch dummy, with Pig leaping into the mud, was a complete surprise to me. The original text ended with Pig and her shadow at the Halloween party and a “reveal” that Pig’s shadow was actually Pug (which our child readers/listeners would have figured out all along.) Instead, here was Pig diving into the mud, then snuggling happily with Pug in their dog/pighouse (seasonally decorated, of course.)

At first, I questioned what would have motivated Pig to get her beloved costume dirty. But the answer was pretty clear – she’s a pig, after all! Now I can’t imagine the book without that final completed circle of muddy friendship.

To me, this is a great example of how a picture book is made. So many different creative minds, hands, and hearts shape and improve a picture book as it goes through the illustration and editing process. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be a part of the Pug and Pig team with Joyce Wan, Andrea Welch, Allyn Johnston, and Lauren Rille of Beach Lane Books plus so many others within Simon & Schuster.

Happy (early) Halloween!

SUE’S BIO:

Click here to read a nice interview with Sue:

Sue Lowell Gallion lives in Leawood, Kansas. She has two grown-up kids, one grandson, and a black lab mix named Tucker who likes to hold hands/paws. Her favorite day of the week is Tuesday, when she reads with first and second graders. She’s worked in the field of public relations and holds degrees from Southern Methodist University. Visit Sue at suegallion.com, follow @SueLGallion on Twitter, and check out her picture book recommendations at Goodreads.

Thank you Sue for sharing your book and journey with us and offering one lucky winner a book and poster, plus two more poster winners. Nice to show off a fellow former SCBWI Regional Advisor. Good luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

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