Pete and Repeat, In the City

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

-Another teaser from DOTTY: the imaginary-friend-mini-Lochnesses (in mobile fish tanks), Pete and Repeat. They belong to Max, the adventurous newspaper-capped explorer in Ida's class. Feverishly finishing two titles, stories that I adore and have enjoyed every minute making pictures for.

I arrived home at 3 this morning (yikes!) from a little book trip to New York where I attended The 2009 Original Art Show reception at the Society of Illustrators. It was great to see the walls decked with beautiful originals from this past year's published books and say hello to illustrator and publishing buddies old and new (special congrats to Scott, Dan, Lauren and to Brian for the silver medal for his exquisite Moonshot!) The show is up until November 25th, and if you're into the art of the picture book, it's always worth a trip.

It was a treat to hear Mr. Chris Van Allsburg speak on accepting his lifetime achievement award too. He mentioned The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, which forever changed the way I looked at picture books, even as a child, and helped me along my career path (to be an "ileastratider"). I appreciated his thoughts on "quietness" in children's books, and about bookmaking with for an ageless audience. I remember shutting his hardcovers, decked out in my best hot-green slouch socks and side ponytail circa 1989, and knowing I had to make books. I was in second grade and I had no idea how I might get there, but I hoped I would.

On my way out of the show last night, I even mumbled a spectacularly awkward sentence his way, thanking him for his inspiration, and received a "good luck" from him in return! It was also special to be there when Dr. Seuss (Ted Geisel) was awarded posthumously and hear a bit about his life and amazing bookmaking career. Big titles and big dreams in a very little gallery and in little books for that matter. I think I will always be in love with picture books.

Now we're back home in our small city, and it's back to work. Hope all is well ♥

Meeting Audrey

Thursday, October 8, 2009

While working on the book for Audrey, I've been lucky enough to get to research her dreamy era for cues on dresses, buildings, streetcars, hats and important places like the old Fulton Theater in New York where she first performed as "Gigi" and made her American debut. (Can you hear me squealing in delight?)

Really though, what I've most enjoyed were the surprise little things I've found along with the nuts-and-bolts research...really beautiful and quiet moments in movies and interviews that let me peek into her heart and not just her life's timeline. As an added bonus in making biographical art, I feel I have made a dear new friend. Audrey did not have an easy life by any means, but seemed to glean joy from most any circumstance (which is not always easy!) making her luminous. I especially love one biographer's (Pamela Clarke Keogh) take on Audrey's lifestyle, "This decision to live in joy takes moral courage, and is, ultimately, one of the truest expressions of style." ♥

If you have 5 minutes to spend with Audrey, watch this video from behind-the-scenes of one of her last efforts, an Emmy-winning PBS series, "Gardens of the World". Make sure you watch it through until the very very end! Enjoy.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Here's one of the imaginary friends from the cast of DOTTY. She is an especially elusive and bashful'll have to read the book next year to meet (and find!) her.

Are you enjoying fall? I am hoping for a chance between life to somehow go apple picking.

For me, colder weather is jazz-flavored, and for some reason, so is this particular book. So I suppose it is perfectly perfect to be working on it while the leaves turn. I usually break out the Django, but tonight it's Marian McPartland. Ask me what song feels most like picture books and city lights in the fall and I will tell you this particular version of A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square.