The Winner of Kelly Light’s New Picture book Louise and Andie: The Art of Friendship I Carol Baldwin. Congratulations! Please send me your address.
Congratulations to Kelly Light for her new Louise book, Louise and Andie: The Art of Friendship. The book launched last week and Kelly has agreed to do a book giveaway. 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. Please make sure you check back on July 5th to discover the winner. Make sure I’m able to find your contact information, in case your name is drawn.
In this stunning companion to the acclaimed Louise Loves Art, Louise has a new neighbor, the creative and offbeat Andie—but can they overcome their differences and be friends?
Louise loves art more than anything. Imagine her delight when a new neighbor, Andie, moves in . . . and she loves art too! It’s the best day ever.
But liking the same thing doesn’t always mean you agree on it. Can they overcome their creative differences?
Sometimes friendship, like art, can require collaboration.
Writing my journey to getting published feels like telling the story of how I drove to the Cheesecake rest stop on the Garden State Parkway at milepost 123.
I have not arrived at my destination.
I ain’t there yet.
This is just where I am now.
My destination lies far ahead and the drive goes on … hopefully, I never get “there”. Where’s there? It’s where you think you’ve got this all figured out.
I am still lost. I’m still making wrong turns and listening to a GPS that is pointing me in a direction that may be the fastest, but it’s not what I want to drive! I want Route 9! I want roadside dinosaurs and giant champagne bottles and I want the shore! I want the salt air! I want to scenic route!
I started this journey a long time ago. When I was a teenager, I walked from store to store with a photocopied flier to paint holiday windows. I did my first professional freelance caricature of Jimi Hendrix at 17 for the WNEW radio station magazine. I worked my way through college with a job at a Syracuse, NY animation studio. I was hungry for this road as a working artist, from the time I was seven.
I drove cross country to Los Angeles to be in animation the day after college. I drove back a few years later to N.Y. to try to find work and wound up in cartoon merchandise.
I got married and had a daughter.
I was a lost, 36 year old Stay At Home Mom who longed for the road and missed her career in cartoons. I wanted to use my skill and passion in a way that would let me work from home. I joined SCBWI in 2006. I would travel up and down the east coast, from the Florida chapter to the N.J. chapter, to N.Y., to N.E. and eventually out to California for the summer conference. I treated those conferences as hard work and selling time. I was putting the pedal to the metal to get noticed by editors and art directors like the Bandit was staying ahead of Sheriff Buford T. Justice.
Six years later, I got my first illustration gig on a chapter book.
Six and a half years, to be precise. It was a long road. Lots of pit stops, rest stops, accidents….
I had a nice rest stop tho, in the summer of 2012, a scenic over look of sorts. I got another chapter book series and my first picture book deal!! My first Louise book, Louise Loves Art. Me! Writing and illustrating my own cartoon character series!
It took a year to make that book. It was a magical time. A lovely cruise through my imagination that resulted in a respectably successful book.
As release approached, the road got bumpy… many potholes got in the way, that’s life. One Louise book got turned into seven.
As amazing as that was, imagine the pressure. It was like driving all day and all night with no rest stops and you have to go to the bathroom!! An author’s first book comes out and it’s cause for celebration! But I was put on tour and on tour and on tour. It was an amazing journey on to itself. I went all over the country to every big conference and book event. To school and stores and libraries.
The whole time…I had another Louise book to make and other books to illustrate and it is impossible to drive and promote and take care of a family and create and clean and live and love and be with family and friends and build a career and be a great Mom and take care of your health and visit your parents and remember birthdays… and cook meals and…. you get the picture? I was way over the speed limit.
I drove off the road somewhere. I crashed the car.
So now? With the second Louise book out, Louise and Andie, The Art of friendship…. I take the scenic route. I drive slower. I stop at every giant ball of twine and I ask for help and directions and where the nearest little local diner is or rest stop or point of interest along this road.
You cannot drive too fast. Even if it’s what you think you have to do to get where you want to go in publishing. Ease up on the pedal and yourself. I am.
Enjoy the drive.
Life will put speed bumps in your way and you need to slow down or you will destroy your transmission and suspension.
Being an author and an illustrator means different things to different people. For some it means fame, for some it means respect, for some it means awards and accolades, for some it means creation and the ability to make a living doing what you love, and for some it is a need, not a choice. I went through a crash course driving school of this career. If I can impart anything to people who want this career, the way I wanted it all of those years ago… drive with the top down, cruise. Get to know yourself as an artist and a creator and a full person – first and this business – second. Keep both hands on the wheel and drive carefully and defensively.
Do not miss out on the rest of life. There’s so much more to see along the way. I have so many miles to go. I’m gonna go, grab a bottle of water and a quick snack and hop back in the driver’s seat. Up ahead, another book needs to get made. I have a year on this leg of the journey.
It will be a wild ride. Fill up the tank.
KELLY LIGHT BIO:
Kelly Light lives in New York but grew up down the shore in New Jersey surrounded by giant pink dinosaurs, cotton candy colors, and Skee-Ball sounds. She was schooled on Saturday-morning cartoons and Sunday funny pages. She picked up a pencil, started drawing, and never stopped.
Kelly is the author/Illustrator of the Louise series. Louise Loves Art and Louise and Andie, The Art of Friendship (6/14/16) are the first two books in the series. Upcoming books are Louise and the Lucky Pencil (2017) and The Smiley Family Album (2018).
Kelly has also illustrated Elvis and the Underdogs andElvis and the Underdogs: Secrets, Secret Service, and Room Service by Jenny Lee, and The Quirks series by Erin Soderbergh.
Below is the book trailer of the first “Louise” book. It is a great book trailer. If you are like me, you will want to have the set.