Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 25, 2016

Take A Look Sunday – Lena Shiffman

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T2 Children’s Illustrators is a diverse group of dedicated, timely, and enthusiastic illustrators and writers from across the United States and several countries abroad. Our focus is on children’s picture book and juvenile educational publishing. But our expertise does not stop there. T2 Illustrators have collaborated on advertising campaigns, editorial features, toys, games, gifts, children’s apps, and e-books. We’re a well-versed group ready to meet your needs.

Nicole and Jeremy Tugeau are the agent/owners behind the T2 Team. They are ecstatic about their ever-growing agency, and they are committed to working hard for the network of illustrators who surround them. Nicole heads up the agency on a day-to-day basis.

What she enjoys most about being an Agent is the partnership-making, the relationships and of course the success stories. Jeremy is a long-time children’s illustrator, and he continues to work as an artist in this field while maintaining some involvement with T2 Illustrators as a creative resource and promotional guru.

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HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

If you do not have an agent and would like to be featured and hear what is working or how it could be tweaked to help you sell your work, then please send Two or Three SEQUENTIAL illustrations (Two/three with the SAME “story/characters‎”) to:

Kathy.temean (at) gmail.com. Illustrations should be at least 500 pixels wide and your name should be in the .jpg title. Please put ILLUSTRATOR PORTFOLIO in the subject area and include a blurb about yourself that I can use to introduce you to everyone.

Each Sunday one illustrator will be featured.

Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 24, 2016

Illustrator Saturday – Susan Gal

After completing her BFA at Art Center College of Design, Susan Gal began her illustration career as a poster and calendar artist. The call of animation beckoned her to Florida where she became an “actor with a pencil” for Disney Animation. But the lure of the silver screen was not to last. Returning to her native California, Susan continues to create fun and whimsical illustrations while attempting to live a caffeine and nuclear-free life in Berkeley.

Here’s how Susan created the artwork for Bella’s Fall Coat…

I began visualizing Bella’s personality as I read the manuscript. Because the author carefully selected such words as “whizz” and “zoom”, “flapped” and “flew”, I knew that Miss Bella had to be a vibrant, energetic little girl. I visualized her with unkempt hair and a ruddy complexion from spending alot of time playing outdoors. Although she could be considered a tomboy she also had a soft, sensitive side to her. Bella would like wearing dresses and her beloved coat. I began playing around with her body language and the look of her clothing. At this stage I’m working with charcoal pencil and a brush pen on newsprint and doing a lot of loose gesture drawing out of my head. This may sound silly, but as I work, the drawings start to “talk” to me and take on their own personality. Perhaps its my animation training, but the characters must feel real to me before I can bring them to life. I like the look and feel of a hand-drawn line on paper and draw much more intuitively with traditional materials.

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I researched clothing to help inspire me, that was fun to illustrate, and reflected Bella’s exuberant style. I’m still working in black and white because I don’t yet want to be burdened with color.

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As Bella began taking shape it was time to design Grandma. I imagined Bella to a young version of her Grandmother so I tried to make Grandma somewhat modern and vibrant–not a traditional white-haired elderly woman with glasses. Grandma felt like a cat person so I sketched her a kitty too. Bella’s author lives in Maine so a Maine coon cat felt like a fun choice. This is an example of the characters starting to come to life!

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Once I’ve decided on the look of the characters I scan my sketches and place them in a layout in Photoshop. Working digitally allows me the freedom to move the sketches around and play with the composition. Working with scans of my original sketches helps me to keep the artwork fresh. This is the stage where I really try to push the limits of my imagination and experiment with composition. I also make sure to include the text in my composition and be thoughtful of the gutter. The spreads are still loose enough so I can rework them if necessary.

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Bella and her coat needed to stand out among the fall palette and so I went with a blue coat. I digitally collage texture and pattern into the painting too.

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Once approved, then I begin to draw and paint in layers in Photoshop. I approach each spread as if it were a painting, adding layers of color like paint on canvas.

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Bella and her coat needed to stand out among the fall palette and so I went with a blue coat. I digitally collage texture and pattern into the painting too.

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The art director and I agreed that the endpaper art should be rich and lush with fall color too.

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Bella’s Book Cover – Stop Back on October 11th for Book Giveaway.

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More Book Covers

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Interview Questions for Susan Gal

How long have you been illustrating?

Yikes! I’ve been illustrating professionally for 30 years, drawing since I could hold a pencil.

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Have you always lived in California?

Yes, except for the year and a half that I lived in Orlando, Florida while working for Disney Animation. I was born and raised in San Diego and currently live in the Bay Area.

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What was the first thing you painted where someone paid you for your work?

Ah, that’s a good question! When I was growing up people frequently asked me to draw or design something for them. No one thought to pay me because making art is “fun”. At the time I assumed being chosen to create a logo, or t-shirt design, painting, etc., was an honor. I won a lot of art contests in school but usually there was no compensation. The work was either displayed or printed and that was supposed to be the reward. Sadly, I honestly can’t remember being paid for my work until I graduated from art school.

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What made you choose to attend Art Center College of Design?

While I was enrolled in an AP Studio Art class in high school I told my teacher that I wanted to become a professional illustrator and attend the best art school in the country. He said that in his opinion ArtCenter was the best school.  I told my parents that I wanted to apply to ArtCenter and my father sent away for the catalog and application information and helped me put together my portfolio. My parents were very supportive and encouraged me to become a professional artist.

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What did you study there?

I majored in illustration and graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree.

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Do you feel College helped develop your style?

I don’t feel as though I developed a set style as a student. We were encouraged to explore, experiment, and to conceptualize by thinking outside the box. My teachers believed, as do I, that a style develops with time and dedication to the work. When I’m asked by students how to develop a style I tell them to be patient and with time and practice they will develop their own style. To this day I still use the skills taught to me at ArtCenter. With each assignment I strive to not think literally and to explore the most interesting ways to problem solve.

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Did art school help you get work when you graduated?

ArtCenter prepared me to hit the ground running with the confidence and portfolio to start working professionally. At that time there was no internet and the only way to show your work was to make appointments with art directors and hope for an interview. It was grueling work driving around Southern California, meeting with art directors, chatting with them as they flipped through my portfolio, and then be told they might give me a call for a job if something came along that suited my style. ArtCenter’s well-earned reputation enabled me to obtain those interviews so I could show my work and start building my career.  My first professional job was a full-color illustration for the San Diego Union Tribune.

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How did you end up going to Florida and doing animation for Disney?

That’s a good story. I was freelancing and working part-time in-house in Los Angeles for a poster company designing and illustrating posters and calendars. That company spun-off into a smaller studio and my new boss was a horrible guy that liked to hire talent fresh out of art school and not pay them! The company also was busted for printing fake pink slips for stolen cars but that’s another story. Anyway, when I notified ArtCenter to blacklist this unscrupulous employer, the woman in the placement office remembered me and told me that Disney was looking for new talent to train and send to Florida to open the new Disney MGM Studio in Orlando. I was excited to have the opportunity to live in another part of the country and submitted a portfolio to Disney. I was stunned and thrilled to be one of 20 people selected from across the country to intern and work for Disney Animation Florida. It was even more of a surprise to learn that I was the only woman selected in the group.

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What made you decide to give that up and head back to California? Did you have another job waiting?

I loved my experience working at Disney and still cherish the people that I was fortunate enough to work with at the Florida Studio. I had the honor of meeting the surviving Nine Old Men that had worked with Walt Disney and truly enjoyed working with the best and the brightest in animation. I still believe to this day that the most talented artists work for Disney and I’m humbled to have had the opportunity to work with them. (cont.)

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In my personal life I met my husband-to-be soon after I was selected by Disney and we dated cross-country from California to Florida for over a year. As much as I enjoyed working in animation, I missed working for myself as an illustrator. I realized that my dream was illustration, especially illustration for children, and working in animation was not as fulfilling for me. I also missed living in California and each time I visited my future husband it was becoming more difficult to return to Orlando. I terminated my contract with Disney in good standing with the promise of not working in animation for the remainder of my contract. That was fair to me; after all, Disney had trained me and it would not have been ethical to work for another animation studio. At that time there was a renaissance in animation and a lot of work was available. I did not have another job waiting for me in California, but I had a new fiancé, a burning desire to freelance, and I was very excited and eager to begin a new chapter in my life.

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When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

In second grade the author Al Perkins visited my school. I remember watching his presentation and realizing that writing and illustrating picture books was a real job. As a child I spent all of my free time either reading, drawing, or painting. Any allowance or money I received from gifts was spent on books. My parents read to me every night before I learned to read on my own and encouraged me to make art. My favorite way to spend the day was to copy the drawings from my picture books and create my own illustrations for stories. My favorite books were the Little House on the Prairie series and any book illustrated by Garth Williams. I dreamed of being able to draw as beautifully as he drew.

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Did you use any of your connections from Disney to get the contract to illustrate Lynn Plourde’s book, Bella’s Fall Coat with Disney-Hyperion? If not, how did that job come your way?

No, an editor at Disney-Hyperion contacted my agent for the job. I was asked to create a couple of samples from the manuscript and then secured the contract.

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Have you seen your work change since you left school?

Yes, very much. My time with Disney really helped hone my drawing skills. Along with drawing every day we were fortunate enough to study with the late animator Walt Stanchfield. He was a gifted artist that passionately taught his students how to see and bring a drawing to life.

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I think I’m a painter at heart and bring that passion to each job. I approach each project with the desire to push the limits of my imagination and pay special attention to the use of color, light, and composition. I’m constantly looking at all types of art for inspiration so I can continue to grow as an artist.

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You wrote and illustrated Night Lights and Knopf published it in 2009. Was that your first book?

Yes, Night Lights was my first published picture book. Actually, at the same time I wrote Night Lights I created a dummy for Please Take Me for a Walk. I did not have my illustration agent at the time so I sent the Please Take Me for a Walk dummy to a couple of publishers. A few weeks after mailing it, one publisher expressed an interest in it. I was elated to think I was going to be published! Sadly, although the dummy made its way up the chain it was eventually turned down. Another publisher was interested in my dummy if I made some changes to it. I did, then that publisher turned it down as well. When I signed with my agent she presented both the Night Lights and Please Take Me for a Walk dummies to Nancy Siscoe at Knopf and Nancy offered me a two-book contract.  (cont.)

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While I was creating the dummies I was working very hard to update and refresh my illustration portfolio. Our young daughter had started school and I wanted to work with an agent to reinvigorate my career. I was thrilled when my first choice of an agent contacted me to sign with them. Although it was difficult, I’m glad that I had started my career without representation because it taught me how to promote myself, secure and deliver a job on my own, and collect payment for it. It made me a stronger and more confident professional artist. However, I wanted to devote more time to making art. I knew that a good agent that believed in my work would work hard to find great jobs, and secure the best contracts, freeing me up for more time in my studio.

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How did that story idea come to you? Were you inspired by a real dog?

The inspiration for Night Lights came while lying in bed at night and noticing the different lights outside my window. I began to wonder about the other types of lights that could be seen at night. I’ve always been fascinated with light and shadow and strive to capture it in my work.

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Please Take Me for a Walk was inspired by my beloved Boston Terrier Wanda. She has recently passed and was my devoted studio companion for 15 years. I miss her terribly and am thankful she lives on in her book.

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What did you do to get that book in the right publishing hands?

I had been working on a few book dummies when I got an agent. She presented it to Nancy Siscoe at Knopf and Nancy offered me a two-book contract.

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Did you do other types of illustrating other than the animation, before you got that first book contract?

Yes, for several years I’ve illustrated for newspapers, magazines, posters, greeting cards, brochures, logo design, etc.

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Lynn Plourde mentions that Bella’s Fall Coat uses collage. How did you get involved using collage in your illustrations?

As my work has evolved over the years I started adding cut paper, bits of epherma, fabric—anything with an interesting texture or pattern. Prior to working digitally I had tried collaging with my gouache paintings and found it difficult to keep the work flat enough to scan for reproduction. Artwork can be photographed and then reproduced but it was yet another generation away from my original art. (cont.)

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While on a trip to New York City I visited a show at the Society of Illustrators and was blown away by artwork that was beautifully rendered and created digitally. That changed the way I worked. I had never liked art that looked like it was done on a computer and I shied away from using a computer.  That show opened my eyes to the possibilities of using a computer as a tool to make art. I began experimenting and taught myself how to use Photoshop. Instead of cutting and pasting by hand I began to collage elements in my artwork digitally.

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It looks like you have two books published with Harry N Abrams this year – Abracadabra, It’s Spring! Hocus Pocus, It’s Fall! So it has been a busy year for you illustrating these books and Bella’s Fall Coat with Disney-Hyperion. Did you have time to eat this year?

Good question! I’m thrilled to have projects that I truly love and inspire me. I’ve worked a lot of years in this business and am very thankful to have such great work at this point in my career. Some years it can be exhausting having to work six, sometimes seven days a week but I will never complain. Illustration can be a tough business and I know I’m blessed to be able to make a living doing what I love to do. My husband is also self-employed so he understands the commitment it takes to succeed. Our daughter is away in college so I consider this period of my life to be a time to relish in my career.

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Do you think you will write and illustrate more books?

I will continue to write and illustrate books until I’m unable to do so. I wake up every morning excited to enter my studio and make art!

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How many picture books have you illustrated?

I’ve currently written and illustrated four books and illustrated another four books by other authors.

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Have your books won any awards?

I’ve been very fortunate that some of my books have been selected for several ‘best of’ lists: a School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, a Texas 2×2 Reading List, an Outstanding Merit star for Banks Street School, a Banks Street College of Education Best Books of the Year, a Kirkus Reviews Best of Children’s Books, and a Northern California Book Award nomination.

Three of my books were also selected for the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show.

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What do you think is your biggest success? 

Raising our daughter to be a good and thoughtful young woman is the first thing that comes to mind. As for my career—being able to make a living with a career that I dreamed of as a young girl—it doesn’t get much better that that. School visits also bring me joy. I love seeing the faces of young students when I tell them that, with lots of hard work and little bit of luck, they can grow up and live their dreams. I show them a photo of my 2nd grade classmates and I in the local newspaper with the late author Al Perkins and let them know that if that little girl can grow up and live her dreams, they can too.

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I see you are represented by Morgan Gaynin Inc. How did you two connect?

How long have you been with her. As I mentioned earlier, I took some time to streamline my portfolio and then began the search for a good agent. I narrowed my choices down to five agents. Morgan Gaynin was my first choice and I sent a letter along with some samples and a link to my website. They called me, liking what they saw in my work, and I’ve been with them for several successful years.

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Do you illustrate full time?

Yes, thankfully!

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Do you have a favorite medium you use?

No, not really. I love experimenting with all different mediums. I do a lot of work on newsprint because its inexpensive and I don’t have to worry about making mistakes or messing up. I can still recall the days of being a frugal art student and being too intimidated to paint on an expensive sheet of rag paper. Newsprint allows me to let loose and have fun. With each new book I try to challenge myself and experiment with something new. I try to keep my work fun and fresh.

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Do you take research pictures before you start a project?

I don’t shoot reference photos to work from. Instead, I photograph and collect things that I find interesting and might be of use in my work. For example, a photograph that I took of some rust on a car became a great texture for the fall leaves in Bella’s Fall Coat and Hocus Pocus, It’s Fall! I do a lot of research when I begin a project and tape up images around my studio to inspire me. Design inspiration for Bella came from some vintage photos I found of immigrant children in old coats and used them along with old photos of my great-aunt and grandmothers to trigger my memories of the relationship I had with these loving women from my childhood. I wanted to capture that delightful bond between a grandparent and child and express it in my work.

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Have you worked with any educational publishers? If yes, is there any difference working with them?

Before creating picture books I did several jobs for educational publishers. I liked the challenge of solving problems within the parameters of educational text but I really enjoy the freedom of writing and illustrating my own work. It’s way more difficult creating my own books but when it works its very satisfying. Then it’s on to the next challenge—trying to make it happen again.

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Do you use Photoshop with any of your work?

Yes, I scan my drawings, design the page, then color and collage the image in Photoshop. I like the freedom that the digital medium gives me, allowing me to change and refine my work. My greatest challenge is to make my work look and feel like it was done traditionally.

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Do you have and use a graphic tablet?

Yes, I use a very out-of-date Wacom tablet. I really need to upgrade, so I’m told.

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Has any of your work appeared in magazines?

Yes, several over the years.

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Do you have a studio in your house?

My studio is a cheerful room in our home with high ceilings and lots of northern light. I delight in entering my studio in the morning, mug of coffee in hand, and begin my work day with the studio filling with morning sunlight.

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Is there anything in your studio you couldn’t live without?

Music and podcasts! When I’m writing a book I like to work in silence, but once the story is written and its time to lay out the illustrations, then music gets my creativity flowing. As I’m rendering final artwork podcasts help keep me engaged and energized as I work.

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Do you follow any type of routine to attain your career goals?

Sometimes it’s a struggle to maintain a balance between life and work when I have back-to-back deadlines. I make sure to spend time outside everyday for exercise and to take a break. Walking my dog Wanda was the perfect way for me step away from my work but now that she has passed I have to make it a point to walk on my own. Walking outside helps inspire me and where most of my ideas originate. Its also important for me to stay in shape to be able to do my favorite activities—hiking and backpacking.

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Do you think the Internet has opened any doors for you?

Absolutely, especially when it comes to research for an assignment. Before the internet, I would have to travel to the library and spend countless hours researching reference for an assignment. It still amazes me that I can search for anything, at any time, while sitting at my keyboard in my studio. Working digitally also allows me to upload my work and not have to manically rush to the nearest Fed Ex location in time to ship my artwork to a client!

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What are your career goals?

I would love to continue doing what I’m currently doing—writing and illustrating picture books and working on other assignments from my agent. I’m very grateful to be doing what I’ve always wanted to do.

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What are you working on now?

I’m finishing up illustrations for a 48 page picture book about Santa Claus and Christmas cookies.

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Are there any painting tips (materials, paper, etc.) you can share that work well for you? Technique tips?

Never be afraid to experiment. If a blank piece of paper intimidates you, then make a mark on it. Voilà! Now its no longer a blank piece of paper. As a teacher once told me, it takes hundreds of bad drawings to make a good drawing. If you make a bad drawing then you are one drawing closer to making a good one. I like drawing on newsprint paper. It can be recycled, and if you should create something wonderful worth saving, then scan it and archive it. I use technology as a tool and not let it dictate the way I work. I have yet to discover a keyboard with a magic key or a tablet with a magic stylus that allows you to click and make a great piece of art.

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Any words of wisdom you can share with the illustrators who are trying to develop their career?

My favorite painting teacher at ArtCenter, Dan McCaw, told us students that “the beauty is in the journey”. As a student I didn’t know what the heck that meant, and I thought it was a silly comment. At that time my ‘journey’ was to make a great pieces of art, of course! Now I understand what he meant by that remark; revel in the process and the exploration. Be open to new ideas and experiences and learn to take the time to really look and listen. Stay true to yourself and your own unique stlye will blossum. Believe in your work, work hard, if something isn’t working be willing to find another solution– and you will succeed.

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Thank you Susan 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 Susan’s work, you can visit her at website at: http://www.galgirlstudio.com

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

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 23, 2016

Free Fall Friday – Agent Interview

AndreaCascardi72bwAndrea Cascardi agent with Transatlantic Literary Agency has held senior editorial positions at Random House and Disney Publishing, and was an agent with Transatlantic for ten years before returning to the Publisher role at Egmont USA. As an editor she acquired and edited Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King winner Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold, the Raffi Songs to Read series, and Pura Belpre winner Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez among many other award-winning books. As an agent she represented many bestselling and award-winning titles including Clare Vanderpool’s Newbery winner MOON OVER MANIFEST and Printz Honor winner NAVIGATING EARLY, e.E. Charlton-Truillo’s Stonewall winner FAT ANGIE, New York Times Bestseller NUBS: A MUTT, A MARINE, AND A MIRACLE, and Texas Bluebonnet winner TEN RULES YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT BREAK IF YOU WANT TO SURVIVE THE SCHOOLBUS by John Grandits.

HERE IS PART THREE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH ANDREA:

How do you like to communicate (email vs. phone)? And how often do you communicate during the submission process?

I usually communicate via email because of time differences and schedules, and during the submission process I always let my clients know when something has gone out and who it’s gone out to.

What happens if you don’t sell this book?

We discuss it—whether or not it needs revamping, or if the author needs time away from it, or if the author wants to pursue a nontraditional method of publishing it.

How many editors do you go to before giving up?

There are no rules for this aspect of the process.

How long is your average client relationship?

I always hope my client relationships are long-term. I don’t represent writers on a book-by-book basis.

Do you handle your own foreign/film rights contracts or does your firm have someone else who handles those contracts?

Transatlantic Agency handles our own foreign rights and works with film rights specialists for those rights. We negotiate our own contracts.

Are you open to authors who write multiple genres? 

Yes, definitely! Many of my clients write multiple genres.

Are you interested in being invited to writer’s conferences?

Yes, I’d love to come to writers conferences. I love connecting directly with authors and illustrators.

WHAT ANDREA IS LOOKING FOR:

Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction. I have eclectic taste, so my submissions wish-list is broad-ranging, but any fiction submission must, first and foremost, have a compelling voice driving the story. Beyond that, I look for smart writing, and amped-up emotions: for example, if you’re writing a warm, heartfelt story, I want it to leave me emotionally spent at the end. Ditto for romance: I want to feel the heat! I’m hoping to discover funny books that literally make me snort with laughter throughout. And books that take unexpected turns that surprise or shock me in a good way. I look for unique yet relatable characters, and I want those characters to come from a full range of diverse backgrounds and time periods. I’d also love to see boundary-pushing stories (in subject, or in how the story is told), cuspy MG/YA, magical realism, dark humor (emphasis on the humor), literary, and clever commercial fiction.

I am open to nonfiction for young readers of all ages, and I’m keen to find innovative presentations and compelling, creative nonfiction that illuminates a broader topic by viewing it through a smaller lens. I’d like to see some “out there” nonfiction ideas that dazzle with their brilliance yet connect immediately with kids.

Author-illustrators: I’m excited to bring new storytelling talent into the field, as well as to work with artists who have experience in other fields such as animation or editorial work and are ready to send their own projects into the world. Also Illustrators: I am looking to add illustrators to my client list. Please query with a link to your website or online portfolio.

Picture books: As of August 3rd I will be closed to picture book text-only submissions. I will revisit reopening to picture book text writers once I am up to date on current queries. I do represent picture books, but please note that I represent authors, not individual texts. I especially love books that put a fresh new twist on evergreen situations and that have an immediacy for the child. Great hooks with exceptional writing will get my attention, as will truly lyrical writing applied to a seminal moment in a child’s life. I am open to being surprised. Please query me before sending a text or attaching it to an email.

Adult fiction. I’m a voracious reader, and I’m looking to represent what I’d love to read, which for lack of a better term I will call commercial women’s fiction. As with children’s fiction, it must be superlative in one or more ways: smart, fierce, emotionally-hooking, funny, clever, diverse…the bar is high but I’m eager to discover exciting new voices. Please note that I do not represent adult science fiction, crime, erotica, or horror. I do not represent adult nonfiction.

Andrea is reviewing queries only. Please do not send complete manuscripts unless requested. Here is Andrea’s website: www.andreacascardi.com.

Twitter: @aecbks

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES For FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “September 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).

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: September 22nd

RESULTS: September 30th

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 | September 22, 2016

Book Giveaway: Aim by Joyce Hostetter

Author Joyce Hostetter has agreed to give one lucky winner a signed copy of her new book AIM, published by Calkins Creek Books, a Highlights Company is coming out on October 4th.

Joyce was nice enough to send me a copy of her book and I was very impressed. AIM is an extremely well-written, interesting story. I felt like I was living with the character in the early nineteen forties, but it is the voice that really makes this book shine. If you enjoy middle grade historical fiction, you will definitely be delighted reading AIM.

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 on October 3rd to discover the winner.

Aim Final Final

Rather than summarize the story- because that’s available at other online sites, I’ll share the prologue.    

PROLOGUE

It was Pop, who taught me to shoot.
He showed me how to aim and
hold that gun real steady.

But when it came to life
aiming wasn’t so easy for him.
Seemed like he mostly stumbled around
looking for something to make him happy.

Maybe I can see why,
after getting stuck with Granddaddy
and hearing the stories of how
back during The Great War
he turned my father into his own personal enemy.
Pop was just a boy, then.

The way I figure it,
what I learned from the two of them
and from my own dumb mistakes
is enough to fill a book.

And so, Junior Bledsoe proceeds to tell a story of a nation moving into war and of family dysfunction and the community of neighbors who help him through the most confusing year of his life.

AIM – A Historical Novel’s Journey to Publication

Like every writer I’ve had my share of rejections. In fact my latest book grew out of a phone call that involved a “no, thank you” to a manuscript I’d submitted.

Maybe my editor, Carolyn Yoder, was tired of saying no to me.  Or perhaps the editorial committee realized I needed an assignment to set me in the right direction. At any rate, they gave me something to aim for. The committee suggested I submit a proposal for a prequel to my books BLUE and COMFORT.  The marketing director envisioned an A book so we’d have A, B, C.

The titles, BLUE and COMFORT coming in alphabetical order, as they did, were purely random.  I’d never considered a prequel and I certainly wouldn’t have thought of choosing the title’s initial letter before knowing my story.

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However, after spending nearly eight years on books that hadn’t found a publishing home, I decided if my publisher was asking for a book starting with the letter A, I would write it.

I had no idea what the title would be but I knew immediately who the story would be about—Junior Bledsoe, neighbor to protagonist Ann Fay from BLUE and COMFORT. Junior is one of my favorite characters and my readers seem to be fond of him also.

So, working from a line in Blue in which Ann Fay, says of Junior, ”He’s the man of his house too, ever since his daddy’s heart gave out a few years ago”, I began to imagine a story.  I pondered the health problems Junior’s father would have had and why. And I considered Junior’s relationship with his father.  I honestly had no idea what Junior’s pop had been like. I’m not one of those writers who knows the back stories of all her characters.  I discover a lot of things as I write.

So I began to write a few chapters, hoping to see if a story would evolve. Then, just when I was getting the lay of my story’s landscape, my editor sent an email saying she wanted to take a proposal to committee in two weeks.  And oh, wow!  Suddenly there was no lollygagging around with discovering plot. I took what had evolved so far and did some serious outlining. I had a brainstorming session with an author friend, Carol Baldwin. (I like to blame Carol for Junior’s slip into illegal behavior.)

I wrote an outline and a synopsis and submitted those with five chapters.

And wouldn’t you know, after eight years of wandering around in my own personal writing wilderness, I received another email from Carolyn Yoder.  The committee loved my proposal and a contract offer was forthcoming.

That was late June of 2015 and I asked if the prequel could publish in 2016 – the year of BLUE’s tenth anniversary. I proceeded to write.  Fast!

By mid-September I submitted a complete manuscript and after two rounds of edits from Carolyn, AIM moved into production.

Several times along the way, I’d opened a dictionary and perused the A words for title possibilities. But of course, I mostly listened to the story. Aim emerged as the obvious choice.

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Here’s Joyce’s BIO:

Joyce Moyer Hostetter lives right where many of her characters do –in rural North Carolina. She’s always on the lookout—hoping to bump into them. In the absence of a time machine that would take her to the 1940’s she immerses herself in research to discover what their world was like.  Her book, BLUE won the International Reading Association Award, The NC Juvenile Literature Award, and Parent’s Choice Silver Honor.  It is used widely in North Carolina schools. AIM is a prequel to BLUE.  COMFORT is a sequel.

HEALING WATER, set in Hawaii’s leprosy settlement is available via E-book.

Thank you Joyce for sharing your journey with us and offering a book to one lucky winner.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 21, 2016

OPPORTUNITY: SCBWI EMERGING VOICES AWARD

Lynne Marie featured me on her wonderful blog. Click the banner below to read.
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SCBWI Grant and Award LogosDeadline: 

Applications accepted between September 15 and November 15, 2016

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, 2017 and the award presented at the 2017 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles.  The Winners will also be mentioned at the New York conference, February 10-12, 2017.

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”

VIEW PAST WINNERS

Questions? voices@scbwi.org

Talk Tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 20, 2016

Book Giveaway – David Harrison

I thought you would enjoy the opportunity to win a copy of David L. Harrison’s NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T that came out earlier this year. David has taken his wonderful talent for poetry and used it to tell a story about the creatures in our world.

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 on October 3rd to discover the winner.

now-you-see-them-cover

Description:

Find me
if you can. . .
for if you
don’t,
I’ll be here
tomorrow . . .
you
won’t.

Animals and insects use camouflage to hide from hunters or to ambush prey. Stealth is a very useful technique when it comes to survival. In this fun and informative collection of poems, we meet animals such as the polar bear and the octopus; the ghost crab and the copperhead snake; and many more that use camouflage to hunt or to hide.

Giles Laroche’s intricate cut-paper illustrations are beautiful and life-like. Readers will have to look carefully or run the risk of a hunter sneaking up on them.

Back matter offers additional information about each of the nineteen animals.

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Books Journey:

Greetings, Kathy, and thank you for inviting me to your blog today. The story behind my book, Now You See Them, Now You Don’t, began in 2013 when I sent the proposal to Yolanda Scott, editorial director for Charlesbridge Publishing. While Yolanda was considering the proposal, my editor at Boyds Mills Press, Larry Rosler, suggested a similar idea for me to consider. Charlesbridge was first to make an offer and so, with Larry’s gracious understanding, I went with Charlesbridge. Three months later I started a different book (school poems) with Boyds Mills. That title is due for release in 2018.

Yolanda introduced me to Karen Boss and we developed the book together. As a biologist and lifelong nature lover, I saw the idea as a way to explain to readers how animals use their shapes, colors, or habitats to hunt for food or hide from those who hunt for them. I began with a list of creatures that provided good examples. A flounder hides in the sea bottom sand. A copperhead disappears into fall leaves on the forest floor. A fawn hides in plain sight, protected by its dappled hide and lack of scent. A walking stick looks just like its name implies. Karen brought her editor’s instincts to the project, including a keen eye for balance. With her guidance I divided the book into five sections – sea life; reptiles and amphibians; mammals; insects and spiders; and birds. To add to the book’s usefulness in classrooms, I added a 100-word prose piece about each of the seventeen creatures to support the poem and provide additional scientific information.

Then — lucky me! – Charlesbridge landed artist Giles Laroche to illustrate the book. Every illustration Giles makes involves drawing, cutting, painting, and gluing, and many illustrations have seven or eight layers to give the picture a three dimensional look on the page. When Giles came onboard, he had some suggestions of his own to strengthen the collection, which Karen and I were glad to consider. Changes were made here and there as we approached the final drafts of poetry and pictures. Although David and Giles are the names on the cover, Karen’s should be there too. It takes a coordinated team and years of effort to make a book.

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Now You See Them, Now You Don’t was released in February 2016, approximately two and one half years after I submitted the idea, and was introduced at the Texas Library Association Conference in Houston. We ran out of books when I was signing so we had to cut off the line. I’m proud of the book and the starred review it received from Kirkus. And I’m delighted to report that the Harrison/Laroche/Boss gang are already far down the road in making the next book come true. I can’t wait to show you the results in a year or so.

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David’s Bio:

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.

http://davidlharrison.com
http://davidlharrison.wordpress.com

stone-fish

Thank you David for sharing your journey with us and offering a book to one lucky winner.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 19, 2016

2016 National Book Awards Longlist for Young People’s Literature

2016 National Book Awards Longlist for Young People’s Literature Revealed

September 12, 2016

The National Book Foundation has announced the 2016 National Book Awards Longlist for Young People’s Literature.

Finalists will be announced on October 13. The National Book Awards Ceremony will be held on November 16 in New York City, at which time the winners will be announced.

ypl-longlist-book-jackets
2016 Longlist for Young People’s Literature:

  • Kwame Alexander, Booked (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Kate DiCamillo, Raymie Nightingale (Candlewick Press)
  • John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, March: Book Three (Top Shelf)
  • Grace Lin, When the Sea Turned to Silver (Little, Brown)
  • Anna-Marie McLemore, When the Moon Was Ours (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press)
  • Meg Medina, Burn Baby Burn (Candlewick Press)
  • Sara Pennypacker and Jon Klassen (Illustrator), Pax (Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins)
  • Jason Reynolds, Ghost (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)
  • Caren Stelson, Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story (Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publishing Group)
  • Nicola Yoon, The Sun Is Also a Star (Random House/Delacorte Press)

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 18, 2016

Take A Look Sunday – Carolyn Le

Tugeau2

T2_web_banners_2

T2 Children’s Illustrators is a diverse group of dedicated, timely, and enthusiastic illustrators and writers from across the United States and several countries abroad. Our focus is on children’s picture book and juvenile educational publishing. But our expertise does not stop there. T2 Illustrators have collaborated on advertising campaigns, editorial features, toys, games, gifts, children’s apps, and e-books. We’re a well-versed group ready to meet your needs.

Nicole and Jeremy Tugeau are the agent/owners behind the T2 Team. They are ecstatic about their ever-growing agency, and they are committed to working hard for the network of illustrators who surround them. Nicole heads up the agency on a day-to-day basis.

What she enjoys most about being an Agent is the partnership-making, the relationships and of course the success stories. Jeremy is a long-time children’s illustrator, and he continues to work as an artist in this field while maintaining some involvement with T2 Illustrators as a creative resource and promotional guru.

HERE IS NICOLE:
Thank you, Kathy, for inviting me to review featured illustration in Take A Look Sunday.  I’m thrilled to be here.  Let’s get started.

Here are two beautiful paintings rendered and presented by artist, Carolyn Le.  They are narrative paintings in that they depict a young man and his hawk and horse interacting in a natural setting. The body language or gesture is strong, and needed in the pictures, I think, to take the place of dialogue we might imagine between two speaking characters. The pictures have great potential for both fiction and non-fiction picture books or illustrated chapter books.  Presenting these two color paintings alongside a third, 1/c ink drawing would make a strong case for the latter.

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In the first picture, the hawk appears to be resting his wing on the boy’s head in familiarity while the boy strokes or maybe steadies the hawk. It’s clear to me that this is not the first time they’ve met. The boy’s horse is not phased by the interaction. He is steady and doing the job he was trained to do. I am intrigued by the face of the boy, focused and confident. But unsure of his age, curious about his coat and boots, hat and braided hair, his ethnicity.  Where are we, and what is the time period? These are excellent points of interest for a new piece.

Two critical comments: there is a shadow beneath the boy’s lower lip and chin that look to me at first glance like a partial goatee or traditional facial hair. Very quickly, it ages up the boy who looks much younger and baby-faced (it occurred to me that “he” may be female) in the second painting. Even when I enlarge the picture, the shadow draws my attention.  Second, the horse has a wonderful face that is seemingly stylized.  There is a lot of personality there and a twinkle in his eye.  The hawk is much more realistic particularly in his face and eyes. This is an early comment (i.e. I may be reading too much into this), but consistency of characters page to page is just as important as how an artist chooses to convey emotion and story through the eyes and expressions and positions of their animals – consistently – page to page.

tkls-carolyn-le-2

The second painting is full of wonderful movement.  Drawing a horse in action is not easy, and Carolyn does a beautiful job.  I’d like to see a little bit more definition in the ground the horse gallops if only to send home the direction and speed of the action.  The straps on the hawk are an excellent addition connecting the boy to the animal even though in this case the hawk is moving distinctly away form the boy.  The viewer is assured in some small way that he will return.

Overall, these are successful illustrations waiting for their associated story. If you’re thwarted by writing, continue to thumbnail the pictures to create plot.  Develop the boy character boy focusing on the hurdles he has to overcome to get what he desires.  Enjoy the process.  Excellent work!

Thank you Nicole for sharing your thoughts and expertise with us. I look forward to next Sunday.

A little bit about Carolyn Le:

Carolyn Le create watercolor illustrations infused with light and color and influenced by her love of storytelling. She had twice received a first-place Illustration Award for her portfolio from SCBWI Editor’s Day, have received a Merit Award from the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles and have had her work shown in galleries in Los Angeles and London. Currently she works on writing and illustrating her own picture books.<

HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

If you do not have an agent and would like to be featured and hear what is working or how it could be tweaked to help you sell your work, then please send Two or Three SEQUENTIAL illustrations (Two/three with the SAME “story/characters‎”) to:

Kathy.temean (at) gmail.com. Illustrations should be at least 500 pixels wide and your name should be in the .jpg title. Please put ILLUSTRATOR PORTFOLIO in the subject area and include a blurb about yourself that I can use to introduce you to everyone.

Each Sunday one illustrator will be featured.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 17, 2016

Illustrator Saturday – Elly MacKay

elly mackayORIGINALrotatedElly MacKay works from the attic of her old Victorian house in Owen Sound, Canada where she lives with her husband and children. She creates unique images through using layers of paper, light and photography. Elly attended the Nova Scotia College of Art for printmaking but also had an informal education in paper arts by visiting members of the Movable Book Society by train when she was a teen. She now creates picture books and illustrates covers for novels.

Select Clients:

Penguin Random House ~ Tundra

Penguin Random House USA

Running Press

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Sterling Publishing

OwlKids Books

Orca

KIDSCAN Press

Here is Elly discussing her process:

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Sketch out the scene, making sure there is room for text and that the image won’t fall in the gutter.

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Ink the paper for landscapes or paint the individual characters.

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Cut the characters, animals and landscape elements out.

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Create the setting, much like a diorama, I do this inside a small theatre.

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Add elements to foreground…

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Middleground

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And background. Then, see how it looks through the camera and adjust.

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Play with the lighting to get the right glow in the theatre.

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Play with the lighting to get the right glow in the theatre.

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Play with the lighting to get the right glow in the theatre.

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Play with the lighting to get the right glow in the theatre.

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Play with the lighting to get the right glow in the theatre.

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Sometimes images are cropped from the photo as this one was for the book Maya.

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Since it is like a theatre, I can switch out characters and add new ones in, like this peacock.

butterfly park

Book Covers

Falling leaves cover

Book Covers

seed

Book Covers

shadow chasers

Book Covers

beach baby

Book Coversannex8
Book Covers
rosegirl

Interview Questions for Elly MacKay

How long have you been illustrating?

My first book came out in 2013, If You Hold A Seed  but I did some illustration work in university too.

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Where do you live?

Owen Sound, Ontario.

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What was the first thing you painted where someone paid you for your work?

It was a diorama built in a chocolate wafer tin. I was fifteen. My mother was presenting at Harbourfront Centre as a paper artist and she convinced them to share my work there too. A gallery in Toronto saw my work and started carrying it. It was pretty exciting to sell my first piece.

above and below

Why did you chose to attend the Nova Scotia College of Art for printmaking?

I visited the school as a teen and really liked it. It was in an old tea factory on the Halifax harbour and had a great atmosphere. It also offered a BFA. The printmaking profs there were wonderful. I didn’t decide to do printmaking until I got there though. I also took a lot of photography courses, some open studio classes, film-making, drawing and electronic arts.

butterfly garden

How did you start manipulating paper?

My mom wrote books on how to make pop-ups. Her name is Joan Irvine. I spent most of my childhood making things… either paper art with her or things out of clay with my dad. When I was 14 my mom took me on a train trip to meet members of the Movable Book Society. They taught me all sorts of Victorian paper arts such as tunnel books, zoetropes, flexograms, paper theatre and quilling. It was a real education in paper arts.

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Do you feel College helped develop your style?

The two illustration classes offered were really valuable. My professor gave me opportunities to do paid illustration. I did an activity book and some magazine work, anything he was too busy to take on. It was great professional experience and helped me in understanding the parameters an illustrator needs to think about when working, such as timing, client’s needs, message, tone, text placement and scale. I think printmaking helped develop my style too. What I loved about printmaking was that I could make an image and print it, then change the plate and print it again. I could get 30 or more variations from one plate. This let me see what was working and what wasn’t and sometimes interesting narratives would develop from the first to the last image. The way I work now is similar. I can move things around and take multiple photos with different lighting, composition, and elements.

dancing

Did art school help you get work when you graduated?

There were internships offered but we didn’t realize how valuable they might have been. After my husband and I graduated, we tried a year of making a living as artists in a new city with few connections, no studio space, and no knowledge of how to apply for grants. I used to work in the hallway. We tried so hard to get things going. It was a tough year. We ate lots of beans, got around on our bicycles and managed with the odd commission. The next year I went to teachers college and Simon went back to school for carpentry. It was a winding path.

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Have you seen your work change since you left school?

I think my work is more similar to the work I did before art school. I think the biggest  influence on my work still comes from the Victorian paper arts I loved as a kid. I was wondering why lighting is such an important part of my work too. It is a bit of an obsession…  and I think it is because I grew up in an old converted church. I loved how the shadows of leaves looked behind the green glass windows and how the coloured light filled a room. I started exploring that in tunnel books as a kid. Now, it is the first thing I consider since it sets the atmosphere for an image.

holding child

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

It is something I remember talking about as a teen, though it wasn’t until I had my daughter that I knew that I wanted to do this full time.

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Did you illustrate a book cover before you illustrated your first book?

I can’t remember what came first. I did a cover for a book called Margaret and the Moth Tree. I think doing covers is a nice balance with making books.

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What was your first book you illustrated?

I wrote and illustrated my first book, If You Hold a Seed.

fall leaves

How did you get that contract?

It was a double book deal with Running Press. My work was seen on Etsy by a book agent. She sent out my portfolio, along with an outline for the book Shadow Chasers. Running Press was interested to see what else I had so I wrote the story outline for If You Hold a Seed and sent it off. They took both.

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Did you do other types of illustrating before you got that book contract?

Only in university.

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How many picture books have you illustrated?

I have written and illustrated 3 and have illustrated another four.

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I see that last year you wrote and illustrated your own book, Butterfly Park. How did that happen?

After If You Hold a Seed and Shadow Chasers, Running Press wanted to do more books so they offered me another 2 book deal. Butterfly Park is the first and the second, coming out next year is called Waltz of the Snowflakes.

garden night

Do you let your children play and create characters and scenes with paper, too?

Lily loves making paper art. You should see her little characters. She is 8 now so she can be working away on her own things beside me quite independently. Koen is still young. He is 4 and when he makes art, he likes to work large with paint. He isn’t yet into making little things out of paper. Soon enough, I’m sure.

lookout

Is it hard to keep little hands away from your work?

My studio is up in the attic. I’ve found it best to have regular work hours and a separate space for my work, though I often find myself using the kitchen table. I think I am more in the family’s way then they are in mine.

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Is the village you made titled Making the Garden something that resides in your house?

Oh, from Butterfly Park? The Butterfly Park set was huge. I made house after house… And soon it took up over 1/3 of the attic. I only kept a few of the houses. My kids told me that there are fairies living in them and one is a hotel that the tooth fairy uses when she comes around. It has a special place now in the hallway to my studio.

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What do you think is your biggest success?

I’m really proud of the interactive installation we did at the Boston Children’s Hospital. I worked with Amri Studio on it. It is a glass donor wall. I created over a dozen differently lit images of a seashore throughout the day. I also created little chickadees and a branch in different seasons.  Amri Studio animated these on layers of glass panels. Usually it shows the names of the donors and a little chickadee sits on a branch but if a child comes close and sets off the sensors, the chickadee will hop over to the child.  If the child jumps or swings her arms, several chickadees will flit through the scene. It was great collaboration and hopefully will bring some smiles to the kids there. It won a Nightingale Award this year, such an honour.

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Have you ever tried to do a wordless picture book?

I am working on one right now. This is the 4th book, Waltz of the Snowflakes. It is about trying new things and bringing colour to a dreary day.

snow valley

I see you are represented by Emily Van Beek at Folio, Jr. How did the two of you connect and when was that?

I just signed with Emily in July. She is amazing. She sent me a note telling me she liked my work and the timing was perfect. I was looking for a new agent. We had few mutual friends and I really admire the artists she has on her list. I was hoping to find an agent that understands both the Canadian and US market and Emily really does.

talking

Do you illustrate and writer full time?

Yes. For a while I was supplementing my income with teaching art at the gallery but now I work full time as an author and illustrator. I miss the daily teaching but have been doing school visits. I love doing them.

red riding hood

Do you always work with painted paper or do you use other mediums?

I usually use Yupo paper and ink. I then cut it and set it up in my little theatre. Recently, I have been playing with black ink on paper too. I think if I had access to a printing press, I would incorporate intaglio. Perhaps sometime in the future I will.

peeking

Do you take research pictures before you start a project?

Yes, or do sketches. I also use google images if I need a reference for say a plant out of season. I took a lot of photos when I was working on Butterfly Park. We have friends with an amazing garden so it gave me a nice excuse to spend a few days there. With so many figures in the scenes for that book, I called on family to pose for me. I have to change features but it helps.

hotair baloons

Have you worked with any educational publishers? If yes, is there any difference working with them?

In university I worked with an educational publisher. I couldn’t really tell you a difference other than that it was flat fee work.

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Do you use Photoshop with any of your work?

Yes, if I have a piece of tape showing in a photo or a wire, I will fix it up the image in Photoshop and take it out. I try not to do too much on Photoshop though. I like to get everything in-camera.

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Do you have and use a graphic tablet?

I have one that I got for Christmas. I gave it a try but it isn’t my thing. There is actually so much time as an author and illustrator on a computer – doing email, social media, running a business with all that entails, and in my case checking in on my Etsy shop, that when it comes to my creative work, I want to get as far away as I can from the computer and just create.

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Has any of your work appeared in magazines?

My work has been featured in O Magazine, Chatelaine, and Cosmopolitan and a few others.

hello

Do you have a studio in your house?

Yes, we bought an old Victorian fixer-upper 3 years ago because it had space for a studio in the attic. It was pretty rough at first… No broken floorboards anymore though thanks to my husband, Simon. He built some nice shelving too and we painted it all white. It is a nice space to work now.<

ginny hens

Is there anything in your studio you couldn’t live without?

Windows! I need lots of light.

Do you follow any type of routine to attain your career goals?

I’ve made lots of mistakes in my career. Some have meant working for pennies or not working on what I want to be working on. I am feeling really happy to have Emily now to help guide me in setting goals and choosing projects. On a day to day level though, yes I love my routine. I work 9 to 3:30 and some evenings. My kids are my priority so I like to get them off the bus and have kid time til they go to bed. I suppose my goals are less career goals and more about living the life I want to live, one that is creative, healthy and filled with people I love. Of course that routine and balance is challenged by the unpredictability of this work. I am always asking myself where to best put my time and energy. That is a routine question.😉

girls in woods

Any exciting projects on the horizon?

I am so excited about the books I am working on. After Waltz of the Snowflakes, I am doing a book with Tundra called Red Sky at Night. I love watching the clouds over Georgian Bay. They can be so dramatic. This book is all about weather folklore. It is about a Grandfather that takes his grandchildren on a camping trip. They have to get home before the storm. The story is told in old weather sayings.

ballerina

Do you think the Internet has opened any doors for you?

It has really opened the world for creative people living in smaller places. Last year I had Rachel Ivers, the director of the LCVA contact me. She had seen my work online. As a result, this summer I have a solo show in Virginia. Previously an artist would need representation and to be in the gallery circuit to have these opportunities I think.

dragon slayer

What are your career goals?

I want to be making things still when I am an old woman. I want to have a shelf full of books to share with my grandkids. I want to be proud of the books. I guess, the big one is that I want to connect with people – kids and adults. I hope that they will find something in what I am doing that speaks to them or that they enjoy.

fallleavesrain

Are there any tips (materials, paper, etc.) you can share that work well for you? Technique tips?

Hmmm… I will focus in on inks since they are expensive and you want to make sure you get the ones you need before investing in them. That… and just because I love pens and ink. I usually use Yupo paper with ink.

My favourite are still Windsor Newton. They are bright, clear and dry with a shine. They also dry waterproof. The drawback is that they fade quickly and are expensive. I only use these for fine work. I use the black to outline my work after using other inks.

FW inks are more like working with acrylics. You can buy large bottles of the primary colours so they are one of the most cost effective. The colours blend well but are more opaque and don’t have the luminous vibrancy. Another drawback is in layering washes. Sometimes the colour will lift if water is left on top of them, though in theory, they are waterproof. These are my stable.

Sometimes I want to work with water soluble inks. I like Higgins brown ink with my dip pens. I can do line work and then soften the lines later with a brush. Higgins is pretty matte. It is the one ink that I have found works well for creating different skin tones.

Alcohol inks are fade resistant, vibrant and unpredictable. These inks are really best on Yupo paper. Where the other inks will travel in wet areas, the alcohol inks travel on their own. They are very hard to control. They also repel each other. Dropping yellow inside an area of blue will push the blue away and you will be left with yellow blobs. The other types of ink would instead blend, making green. These are by far the most beautiful too if you are working on transparent paper such as Mylar.

new moon

Any words of wisdom you can share with the illustrators who are trying to develop their career?

Work hard & make, make, make! It sounds obvious, but to be in this industry, you have to have real drive. I think if you want something enough, you’ll find a way of making it work. Hang in there and keep going. It is a tough industry to break into.

Set up a routine, and ask for help from others if you need it (agent, accountant, childcare, etc).

You will likely be taking up the kitchen table and in the way of those you love, so do your best to be patient and understanding when they spill coffee on your illustrations. Set up your own space if you can.

Be wary of offers of work in exchange for exposure. Set your fee and get a contract.

Enjoy life. Sometimes it is tempting to work too much. You can easily take on too much when working for yourself… We all know freelancer fear. (It has taken me a long time to learn to consider offers before immediately saying yes.) You want to make sure you still have time to do all the other things you love to do, develop work for yourself and be with the people you love.

fall boat water

Thank you Elly 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 Elly’s work, you can visit her at website at: http://www.ellymackay.com/

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

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 16, 2016

Free Fall Friday – Agent Interview Part 2

AndreaCascardi72bwAndrea Cascardi agent with Transatlantic Literary Agency has held senior editorial positions at Random House and Disney Publishing, and was an agent with Transatlantic for ten years before returning to the Publisher role at Egmont USA.

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As an editor she acquired and edited Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King winner Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold, the Raffi Songs to Read series, and Pura Belpre winner Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez among many other award-winning books. As an agent she represented many bestselling and award-winning titles including Clare Vanderpool’s Newbery winner MOON OVER MANIFEST and Printz Honor winner NAVIGATING EARLY, e.E. Charlton-Truillo’s Stonewall winner FAT ANGIE, New York Times Bestseller NUBS: A MUTT, A MARINE, AND A MIRACLE, and Texas Bluebonnet winner TEN RULES YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT BREAK IF YOU WANT TO SURVIVE THE SCHOOLBUS by John Grandits.

HERE IS PART TWO OF MY INTERVIEW WITH ANDREA:

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

Currently it is about 8-10 weeks. If a manuscript comes in during a very busy time, I will often tell a writer if they don’t hear from me within a certain time period it is okay to nudge me.

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

Trying too hard to create a book that will appeal to a broad audience and therein losing any hope of appealing strongly to any audience. Not wanting to pinpoint a genre—I see authors trying to throw every genre into their query, as in “it’s a sci-fi romance historical comedy-drama.”

Any pet peeves?

Just a small one. Submissions without greetings. It’s not a deal-breaker but I prefer a query to sound like a letter.

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?

Yes. Since I was an editor for so many years, it’s part of what I do. I try to stick with the big picture editorial feedback, since the acquiring or line editor will have specific ideas later on.

Do you have an editorial style?

I usually talk with my clients about their projects, then if they want or need notes, I follow up with specifics. It depends on each client—every writer works differently and I adjust to best suit their creative process. Bringing out their unique voice is my goal.

How many clients do you have?

Currently I have eight clients, but I am looking to add many more.

What is your typical response time to email/phone calls with your clients?

Except for times when I’m away, I usually respond within 24 hours.

Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction. I have eclectic taste, so my submissions wish-list is broad-ranging, but any fiction submission must, first and foremost, have a compelling voice driving the story. Beyond that, I look for smart writing, and amped-up emotions: for example, if you’re writing a warm, heartfelt story, I want it to leave me emotionally spent at the end. Ditto for romance: I want to feel the heat! I’m hoping to discover funny books that literally make me snort with laughter throughout. And books that take unexpected turns that surprise or shock me in a good way. I look for unique yet relatable characters, and I want those characters to come from a full range of diverse backgrounds and time periods. I’d also love to see boundary-pushing stories (in subject, or in how the story is told), cuspy MG/YA, magical realism, dark humor (emphasis on the humor), literary, and clever commercial fiction.

I am open to nonfiction for young readers of all ages, and I’m keen to find innovative presentations and compelling, creative nonfiction that illuminates a broader topic by viewing it through a smaller lens. I’d like to see some “out there” nonfiction ideas that dazzle with their brilliance yet connect immediately with kids.

Author-illustrators: I’m excited to bring new storytelling talent into the field, as well as to work with artists who have experience in other fields such as animation or editorial work and are ready to send their own projects into the world. Also Illustrators: I am looking to add illustrators to my client list. Please query with a link to your website or online portfolio.

Picture books: As of August 3rd I will be closed to picture book text-only submissions. I will revisit reopening to picture book text writers once I am up to date on current queries. I do represent picture books, but please note that I represent authors, not individual texts. I especially love books that put a fresh new twist on evergreen situations and that have an immediacy for the child. Great hooks with exceptional writing will get my attention, as will truly lyrical writing applied to a seminal moment in a child’s life. I am open to being surprised. Please query me before sending a text or attaching it to an email.

Adult fiction. I’m a voracious reader, and I’m looking to represent what I’d love to read, which for lack of a better term I will call commercial women’s fiction. As with children’s fiction, it must be superlative in one or more ways: smart, fierce, emotionally-hooking, funny, clever, diverse…the bar is high but I’m eager to discover exciting new voices. Please note that I do not represent adult science fiction, crime, erotica, or horror. I do not represent adult nonfiction.

Andrea is reviewing queries only. Please do not send complete manuscripts unless requested. Here is Andrea’s website: www.andreacascardi.com.

Twitter: @aecbks

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES For FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “September 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).

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: September 22nd

RESULTS: September 30th

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

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