Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
with a silverfish in your shoe?
You scream, you run
you gasp, you gag.
And you call your husband
or daughter to snag
Oh, I'll never be the same. Scarred for life. Scared even longer.
But Bill and Dave playing Charlie Parker brings me back to life.
Friday, November 14, 2008
the sound of the scanner
can put you to sleep
in an uncanny manner
Those 32 pages
slide through in two passes
and drop on the tray
like drippy molasses
Then before you know it
an hour has passed
and where does the time go
when things don't move fast
You're snoring along
as the dummy progresses
and you run out of toner
and you cuss what a mess this is
Another hour goes by
and the dummy is done
but you forgot a copy
of that sample...that ONE
That colorful sample
you sent to the printer
looks pretty good now
as your brain starts to splinter
But you swallow your coffee
and you belch and you yawn
you'll get this thing mailed out
if you work until dawn
Suddenly it is Saturday
Will the post office close
sooner than most days?
Better get on your toes
You kiss them goodbye
those three little bookies
and wait a few months
for those editor look sees
(and you work on something new)
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Sigh. Knowledge is power, talent is inate yet constantly refined, and the market is a constant lesson.
Whatever you do -- make sure that what you draw (cut, fold, staple, mutilate... whatever) is what you love.
Me -- I love cabbages. So much that I have been cutting out cabbage colored paper because I love cabbages. The very shape of a cabbage sends me into a collaging frenzy. (They are actually very good for the diet). The real ones. I wouldn't encourage anyone to ingest paper.
P.S. It helps to have some Brubeck handy. Then you can bounce around your studio and clap your hands to Take Five. (Make sure you put down the exacto knife first.)
Friday, October 24, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Well, that was an easy process of elimination and I felt an immediate, direct, and personal connection to the Barrio one. And I am not Spanish in any way, nor do I speak Spanish. But I love Spanish art, music, food, people, architecture and I am all about color....and ethnicities and cultures. It has soul. I didn't even have to mull over my decision. I knew it right off the bat. It makes me smile when I read it. It is poetic.
So it is no to the punctuation ms. This manuscript is not what I do.
So it is no to the dog ms. I am not a dog person.
And it is no to bigger, faster etc. ms. I felt like I COULD illustrate this
but I WANT to illustrate the Barrio. And if you want to do something and love it, it will show in the end result. It is like those old manuscripts I wrote...some of them left not impact on me. It is the ones I think about all the time that I won't let go of. I see them. I want to illustrate them. And if you can visualize something as an artist then it is right. I believe that in my heart and soul.
This is going to be an interesting assignment. Sketches first! (No. Research first...)
Finals second. And it will be collage. It has to be collage. And it will be beautiful. And full of life and feeling and honesty.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Another arrow in my heart.
Sigh. I EFFING SEE IT!! How do I make you see same???
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
He acquired his size from too much pi.
2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island,
but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
3. She was only a whisky maker,
but he loved her still.
4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because
it was a weapon of math disruption.
5. The butcher backed into the meat grinder
and got a little behind in his work.
6. Now matter how much you push the envelope,
it'll still be stationery.
7. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road
and was cited for littering.
8. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in
9. Two silk worms had a race.
They ended up in a tie.
10. Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.
11. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall.
The police are looking into it.
12. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
13. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway.
One hat said to the other, 'You stay here, I'll go on a head.'
14. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger.
Then it hit me.
15. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'
16. A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital.
When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was,
a nurse said, 'No change yet.'
17. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
18. It's not that the man did not know how to juggle,
he just didn't have the balls to do it.
19. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was
a small medium at large.
20. The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now
a seasoned veteran.
21. A backward poet writes inverse.
22. In democracy it's your vote that counts.
In feudalism it's your count that votes.
23. When cannibals ate a missionary,
they got a taste of religion.
24. Don't join dangerous cults:
Practice safe sects!
Those bolded over bowled me over.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
I can tell why my first manuscripts didn't go. Because I couldn't say what they were really about. Were they about anything? What is the truth and meaning about what I have to say about my character and story?
Today, I use M.T.A's (Manhattan Transit Authority?...I think not) Handel Biography to see how he does it...as mine is comparable... somewhat.
In his jacket copy, his first two lines sum up the man in his story.
Throughout is life, George Frideric Handel always knew what he liked. And he was never afraid to do what he liked LOOKS SO SIMPLE...DOESN'T IT?
From childhood Louis Moreau Gottschalk loved the musical sounds he heard around the world. He mixed them all together in his own musical ragbag, then took them out and shared them.
Has been changed to: Louis Moreau Gottschalk soaked up every musical sound he heard around the world. He mixed them in his own musical ragbag. Then he took them out and shared them. (Better I think...and off it goes.) YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then we talk a bit about the hardships along the way. And his determination.
Getting there thru trial and error
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
The thing that I love is that every show here is done very well, the speech and acoustics are clear, the artisitic direction is simple yet effective, and the actors are for the most part top notch.
I understood every Agatha Christie bit of dialogue (in quite good Anglo-parle) and was of course surprised by the Christie ending. She is famous for her endings and the way she unravels her plots and characters. And the Whodunnit always makes everyone gasp. Never who you'd expect (well, usually never except for the lady behind me's best friend.... grrrr.... who has to let everyone know how brilliant she is).
The Receiver: But something is not adding up...what did I miss? It wasn't in the middle. It was something that should have paralleled with the beginning and the end. Guess I'll have to read this. I love a good mystery and get antsy when something is not quite right (It is right, but something went over my head and I have to catch it).
The Creator: What does this have to do with illustration and writing? For me, if something is not quite right, I have to figure out why and catch it.
Back to My Accident.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
A Stranger in my Own Home Tong
A Whole Lhasa Shakin' Goin' On
Beijing the Beguine
Dimsum On the Ceiling
Ginseng in the Duck
Gong With the Wind
Great Wall's Afire!
I'm Getting Sent a Mai Tai Over You (Bronze Medal)
In The Coolie Coolie Coolie Of The Evening
If You Knew Suey Like I Know Suey
It Might As Well Beijing
It Was Szechuan of Those Things
Kimono My House
Ming To Me
Mr. Sampan (Bring Me a Dream)
Oolong Has This Been Going On?
The Mao I See You
The Suey With the Fringe On Top (Silver Medal)
Tibet Is Yet To Come
Tickee To Ride
Wokking My Baby Back Home
Yangtze Doodle Dandy (Gold Medal)
You Gotta Acc-U-Punc-Tu-Ate the Positive
(The bolded ones are my faves and the winner is stated)
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
And while buying required US Poet Laureate for my daughter's AP Senior English Summer homework assignment (she chose Billy Collins) I found a collection of William Carlos Williams. So for inspiration I snatched up this last copy (sorry seniors...you'll have to place an order) and will take a few poems and illustrate them. Potential portfolio pieces perhaps. And if something comes of it...so be it. But right now I need a mind tickle , in the worst way.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
those winds blow
Let's call the whole thing awful.
A tree falls in Montclair. On my car and over my front lawn. The power goes out. My backyard looks Third World for all the electrical wires entangled, and strewn with various straggly limbs and stumps. No power, no school, severe internet withdrawl. Who cares about this week's food supply melting in the fridge. We want internet and we want it now.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Firstly, it is again the hottest day on record in NJ, and I could not sleep a wink last night.
The day started with intros from the panel.
But my biggest bit of news is that I was matched with an agent rather than the editor I asked for which turned out to be just fine. They win awards...lots of awards.
The session from Holt on how the editor and art director work together was so well done. What they really brought out tho, was how MARKETING intervenes.
My critique with the CD was JUST what I expected. He LOVED my biography art and dummy. Then he asked who I was having my ms critique with and I told him the agent.
Then he told me my art for Gaudi was too late. They are already doing a pb/bio on him. Grrrr.
Then I met with the agent. She was SOOOO nice and loved my folio. She assesed it and told what pieces were my strengths. She told me that it is European (and she said you won't know what that means...but I think I do). She said your work is not HC but more like Roaring Brook (but they are agented....and I'm not...yet...) She said your work is special and that is why it is hard to place you right away...but it should lead to developing you as a unique voice. And that is just what I want ...I just am getting impatient as I see so many generic illustrators get job after job. Oh, and she gave me great and constructive critique on my gargoyle. I really like her. She was genuine and her face lit up when she saw my art (you can't fake that).
She wants to see my biography and asked how my crit went with the CD.
But another wonderful thing is I had lunch across from Ted at FB. This young engaging Ted. He is so funny and cool and told me all these tidbits about the books he'd acquired and why. I must say I like those kind of books but I don't write them unless they are for fiveish. I asked him how to query FB with what I do, and he did... so I will. He said to choose your fave Pb and mention others. I just wish I knew what that was.
What I do know is if I get agented, not all of what I have done or will do will get represented...unless I am extremely lucky.
And I see revisions of sugerplums dancing for the agents.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Hint hint. He's having a bad day and he's pissed off.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
And it didn't kill me. But I think I was afraid of it. It might have been afraid of me.
It has meaning. It has an emotional, lasting story which hovers over plot. It has beautiful, sensitive language and substance. And it is put together in a well thought out, creative, respectful and deliberate way. And that is where I want to be.
Commercial is great if it is literary. Most commercial for commercial sake deserves a snake bite, though.
I feel good and confident and I know what I want and am looking for same.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Is an Iam(Bic) some kind of cat food with a free pen?
Is molosses some kind of syrup?
Is metynomy some kind of self loathing?
Mais non....I LOVE myself...IAMmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
I naively suggested some thoughts on the finalists in EA's non-rhyming poetry challenge, and one of them completely threw me for a loop. One LONG loop.
But I admit...I am all ear. Not terribly analytical (in anything). And when Mr./Ms. anonymous enters the scene completely prepared, and by the last two paragraphs has reiterated my suggestions exactly (obviously, more explicitely) I felt kinda like "I may be dumb...but I am not stupid." He/she said what I heard. Cool.
I ain't no dummy. IAMme...IGOTTABEme
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Six shows. Two weekends. One final song that made me fall apart.
What a wonderful, beautiful, sad and important musical.
I am an emotional wreck, right now, but so proud of these kids and the crew and directors for producing such a brilliant, BRILLIANT production ...and all the tears and LOVE after.
And my daughter who says she can't act gets all these compliments. You, my darling CAN. You can. You can.
Sometimes,often it is hard to believe in yourself. I know. I know. But you must. Six times over.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Funny thing, is now when I write I don't give the reader everything there in words. I leave enough there for the reader to form his/her own conclusion....or to form his/own imagery. I say enough to start a dialogue in the readers brain and and try to leave out description.
I wonder if the reason it took me so long to find books that I loved was because 'that' writer knew this is what hooked me.
I can't get past a first page of description. And I wonder how many kids labeled as reluctant readers would be 'unlabeled" if they were given such books.
Just a thought.
And these are the books I pick up. And they win awards and last.
Different minds. We are not all the same.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
In blurried hopeful sight (and then I have to make a sample or two),
What immortal hand or eye (shit...and dummy as well??)
Could frame thy fearful artistry? (A dummy as well???????)
In what frequent dummies tried (Oh, no...)
Drained the focus of mine eyes (And my markers)?
On what spreads dare I aspire? (What, you mean FINALS?)
What mine hand dare sketch the line..ner? (Now forget it. A dummy, sketches. samples and no deal yet??)
Friday, April 25, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Which brings me to logic. My favorite. My weakness is this:
I look at the logic problems I get from critiques and try to attack my mss with connecting elements throughout. This takes a real step back and much thought. But I can do it and have done it. It is like solving a puzzle. I love puzzles.
And then go back to the words and fine tune.
This is fun once you bypass the the HARD part. The starting part.
Two of those critiques were more helpful than I imagined. And I let them sit for a year before I used them.
Time to start a dummy I need, and a new story, and samples ( my favorite).
Friday, April 18, 2008
......I am not so sure that I am that literary a writer. My gut says somewhere between literary and commercial. God, I'd love to have her attact my gargoyle if I could just let go. I myself don't know where that ms should be. I'm almost done with the dummy but the ending is proving difficult. Shit, it is just a page or two more but I don't like it enough....yet.
I have had a devil of a time choosing an editor for critique. I'm not looking for a contract. But I am looking for a GOOD critique. Cheryl would be good, I know that. But would she be the right one knowing that I am not sure if this is literary or commercialy/genre...yyyy. What I need to decide is where I see it. It would help to have second opinion. This is what is so hard about working without any feedback or help. And I fear that I will never get anywhere. It makes me lose hope.
But I keep hope.............I can't wait to meet the Holt team. My folio is something I am so proud of. I must say it shines more now than ever. I've worked so hard on it. Fingers crossed. There is an editor at Holt looking for biographies of lesser known artistic people done in a stylistic manner. Fingers crossed upside down and twisted around. Keep hope at bay, Barb or you will be disappointed.
I would so like to meet with Philomel, too. I LOVE THEIR BOOKS.
This is a tough choice.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Um. I don't see an understanding of the American market here...what exactly is supposed happen here? Do we get out guns and greet them on the beach and take them in and come to some kind of understanding. Vee arrrr niiiiisss peeeples and vee hav boooooks vor chlieldrrrren. Vanna buy?
What I can tell you is you have a heap of sheep ready to pounce (do sheep pounce...they do if they have manuscreeeepts ...baaa...baaaa....blaaaaaack sheeeeep havu enee vool ). Can American sheep read Dutch ( I mean Flemish)?
I'll tell you a real secret. The Belgians make the BEST chocolate in the world. And their restaurants rock. And if you like lace go visit Brugges (probably the most pictureseque town around). But publishing to Americans...I'll try to stay tatted (I mean tuned)
....not every business proposition is like great chocolate...fresh and distinctive and well marketed and well made (or appreciated for that matter...but that is not my concern).
I'll bet the Belgians do better with chocolate. And not Hershey's.
Monday, March 31, 2008
I remember being fascinated by the tigers turning into butter as they ran around a tree
I remember a little kitten hit by a car, and a little pool of blood on the road (he lived).
I remember a fairy drinking poison to save her friend Peter( she lived).
I remember drawing a picture of a bare bottomed kid pooping, and me being sent to my room (I lived).
What is my point?
My point is that I think many writers of pbs for preschool and early primary are out of touch with the age group they write for. Like rhyme about social studies, or football. Little kids don't like or understand or appreciate this. Their world is simple and immediate and confusing. And about them.
And these images that I cite reflect a basic psychological reaction.
Do you know why writing a pb that hits YOUNG kids is hard? Because it involves knowing child psychology; and knowing what the rules are. Don't write a rhyming book about sports.
Poop done well will sell.
A broken nose done in prose will sell.
And tigers turning to butter....Well, I can't wait to start my next project. But it won't be butter.
Friday, March 28, 2008
I will have a critique with an AD, from S and S who has already expressed interest in my art. This time I'll have dummies to show and a smashing portfolio. I have so much to do including a weekend of getting my art to Dave in the proper format (ugh).
But I can't do the newbie crud anymore. I am so tired of it all.
I just want to be working on a great project with great people and after a while this all feels like BS.
I see people getting published everyday who make me wonder what the F am I doing wrong. Besides not submitting.
If I could just spend half of my day in my studio making my art I would be the happiest person I could be. That is what I do best. And all this is BS.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Peter Sis: his imagination and style are the most unique (is there such a thing...yes, in this case)
Chris vA: magic
David McKee: extended elephant phase but what he is in his element
Gris Grimly: Line and ink master of monster
David Shannon: Far out and not afraid
Colin Thompson: Fantasy fan to see...see it!
Maurice Sendak: Sensitivity
Alan (Allen) Say: realism that makes you collapse with awe
Steig: Primitive grit
Jenkins: COLLAGE....yes....even though his is realistic (her her)...JK
Judy Schachner: Because she writes as well as she illustrates and in total SYNC with it
David Macaulay: thinker inking
Martin Hanford: Anyone who can illustrate five million people...that is LOVE
Harry Bliss: He can really expand on the text. Seems to jive with the words.
David Wiesner: Although I am not a real fan of wordless pbs...his are works of art. I do prefer his worded ones, though. His work is ethereal and makes the world endless.
David Small: Funny, clever, also expands well on the text
Holly Keller: Sensitivity to her subject matter both text and art
and why do I love them so much (well, much of it is subjective...I could say I love the ones that are very popular...but I don't). Because they are distinctive, artistic, appeal to kids ( and adult kids), prolific and have their own VOICE . They have something strong that sets them apart from functional art.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
My first writing teacher showed me
"Black and White" and hooked me into this insane business. This book made me what I am today. Anxious, excited, neurotic and a thinker. It also made me the brainchild of a gargoyle with sunshine on his cathedral...which was written for this class and has been written a million times. and maybe one day will be on published paper.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I don't know why I love her like I do
All the changes she puts me through
Take my edits, my manuscripts
I've haven't seen the worst of it yet
I wanna know that you'll tell me
I love your way
Take me to the Book Store, drop me in Bestseller
Take me to the Book Store, drop me in Bestseller
Pumping me up, pumping me up
I don't know why you treat me so bad
Think of all the books we could have had
Words are an ocean that I can't forget
My sweet fiftieth I will never regret
I wanna know that you'll tell me
I love your way
Take me to the Book Store, drop me on best seller
Take me to the Book Store, drop me on best seller
Pumping me up, pumping me up
Scrap me, crop me, add me, tease me
Till I can't, till I can't, till I can't take no more
take me to the book store, drop me on best seller
push me to the bookstore, drop me on best seller
Pumping me up, pumping me up
I don't know why you edit like you do
All the troubles you put me through
Sixteen spreads there in the book
I'm not a fool just take a look
I wanna know that you'll tell me
you CAN revise
Take me to the editor and get another revision
one more time with editor then another revision
When will it end...when will it end....
And she was sitting in the group
And she could hear the ed start reading
And she could see the nearby exit
She's making sure she is not screaming
See the heights of the manuscripts
Now she's starting to rise
Take a minute to concentrate
And she closes up her eyes
The eds were nodding and she was right there with them (and she wasn't)
The eds were nodding and she was floating above them (and she wasn't)
And she was drifting through the office
And she was putting on her coat
And she was moving very slowly
Rising up over New York
Moving over the manuscripts
Drifting this way and that
Not touching the piles at all
cutting through the clouds
And she looked down at the all the eds
Who said"This one will be a novel"
She had a pleasant revelation
This time she'd have real vacation
Kicking piles of massive mannies
Missing just one but she'll feel alright
(and she does).
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
And you may ask yourself
how did I get here
And you may say to yourself
"This is not my beautiful house
This is not my beautiful book."
qu'est ce que c'est
We are brave and we're not blind
I hate writers when they're not polite
Crosseyed and Painless
Lost my brains trying to read the manuscript
Can't stop cuz I have to read this Bull*@#!
am changing my name -it was all a bad accident
They're back - to explain their lack of brilliance
Manuscripts Piling Up
I can see those mannies piling up
stretching from my office to the stairs
I work in this house where I'm employed
When I was throwing up - my hands cuz
I could never keep my spirits up
I remember daze and crazy nights
Are there any writers worth their s#!^
And if they ever polish up - they'll have
a revision by morning.
More to come. Stay "Tuned"
Friday, March 14, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response (YAY). Poetry has been known to employ meter and RHYME (shhhhhh), but this is by no means necessary. Poetry is an ancient form that has gone through numerous and drastic reinvention (sometimes YAY) over time. The very nature of poetry as an authentic (what does that mean? Huh?) and individual mode of expression (I have to express myself through a picture book....because it takes little time and can be done in quick rhyme) makes it nearly impossible to define (even though this is a definition).
I guess it wasn't as impossible as 'you' thought. HA HA!!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
But the birds are telling me that spring is coming very soon. And this depressing cocoon is going to break open and a gorgeous butterfly will break out.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
My portfolio of projects thus far:
Flamingo story (must need a plot or premise change, I am sure) but this could be a real visual dream of a story
Pig story (must need a plot change, I am sure) Another visual story
Gargoyle story (in perpetual progress and the one I am really focussing on, at the moment... has so many possibilities but the ending might need a transformation...doesn't seem too hard at this point). yeah right.
Doll Saver story (satisfied)
Alligator story (in perpetual progress..probably a simple fix that I can't realize)
Composer Biography (in perpetual progress...this one will really work with the pictures) but that is going to have to wait.
Gaudi story (beginnings... after many drafts)
And my next victim (ha ha) is going to be a little boy tiger (i have one too Disneyesque a sample that can be morphed into a another less Disneyesque rendition I have done in basic). What is your story.......shit, I don't know...yet.....
And the pb prince pb is not yet realized nor the three flying mice but perhaps down the cloud....
so Barbara's mind continues to whirl forth into illustration madness...
Monday, March 3, 2008
Roses are red, gargoyles are grey, this gargoyle can gargle his troubles away.
And troubles are grey most of the day. Except when I say hey, hey... thank you Marjan, thank you Peter Sis!! I had this idea all along and you just validated it!! But I am doing it my way.....I love you both soooooooooooooo much!!
This is going to be fun to try and get across in a dummy. Heh...heh...heh...............
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Read it and then go see it...go see it...go see it!
I feel inspired to make something so magnificent; one brain celluloid at a time.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Bill's band is thriving and they are sooo gooood.
Emily's dancing is coming to fruition with her next concert.
And Henry's animation and comic illustration, and drumming make me shiver.
And my next endeavor into illustration is playing with color, and blacks and whites. When I get bored...and I am sooooo bored right now I love to expiriment.
I can't think about submission right now. I only want to create.
Monday, February 25, 2008
I also find it fascinating that, for me, submitting art samples is less stressful. Probably because I've had better luck with it. More takers than for my writing. My writing is much more of a precarious gesture when I send it out.
Almost always letters in return (except FSG, in which case always forms...can't get into their heads). So lately, I don't feel it is a comment on my writing but more of a comment on what I am writing...could be wrong but just an observation...I am not filling a need, but I write my own tales...how could I possibly illustrate anything without my (a) storyline? I know everyone says illustrate a folk or fairytale. I don't do those.
My critique group is not so good for pb critique because 99 percent of the writers in it are mg and ya.
Pb is a highly specialized mindset, and if you illustrate that makes you somewhat of a freak. I'm a freak.
Back to that unanswerable question...look at the market...really...How do you know when your pb is good enough? My question is how do you know when your pb is great? Enough said. Because good enough isn't enough...for me anyway...always striving for the moon...I look at the greats...and they are great for a reason....they transcend.........I want to be great........how do I do that...that is MY question.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
What? Oh, silly me. Reading to my children is (was) the one thing I love(d) having time for. I'd have to make that goddamned time. Oh, life is tough all over. Reading to your children..what a bore. I could be watching Oprah. I could be painting my nails. But no, I have to sit down for a half an hour and enjoy a story with my kid. Oh, you know what? This might be a good time to multi-task. It gives a chance for the nail polish to dry.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
It bemoans the writer of this thread (and me, too) that the state of non-fiction for children in the state of California's libraries and bookstores is so limited (funds, and buyers interests). This writer talks about what a hard sell her non-fiction was; and she's multi-published.
The thing that makes me so frustrated is that my biography's strength, or one of its strengths is in the execution of the illustrations. It is in the dummy but more so in the actual finished art. Because pencil sketches to actual finished collage/mixed media are like skeleton to flesh.
This is why I find it so difficult and frustrating to sell everything as a unit (especially over the transom).I've gotten letters on this project. Compliments. But obviously something is not working. And I don't know what that is because no one will say so. Just that my subject is obscure.
If you think about it just about every historical, artistic, scientist figure is obscure to a child. May be it is the parent/adult who wouldn't know my subject well enough to reach for it. Maybe there is not going to be enough demand.
Hell, my kids have brought home books about astronauts, poets and scientists I have never heard of. Could it be curriculum tie-in? Mine is not. I don't think so anyway.
1) Obscure colorful American composer/virtuoso/idol
2) Conflicts -- overcoming adversity/prejudice, and hardships on the road (trains and the lack of).
3) Amazing/wild things he did besides what he was known for (very visual). He was a daredevil and show off.
4) Nice art (very visual...ha..ha..ha)
5) Onomatopoeic (sp?) language to match his music and musical rhythms. Bouncy language.
6) Involvement in Civil War...he played on the battle grounds and for Lincoln. Product of New Orleans
7) Precursor to ragtime
8) Multi-cultural themes and characters
9) Entertaining more than educational.
10) Theme: travelling the world for multicultural voices to incorporate into his own music. And this is something that is shown in the symbolistic art.
1) Hey Jude!! Too Obscure (Barbara shakes head in disbelief)
2) trying to do too much.........hmm...maybe?? Dunno. I cut this from 1,700 words to 750 words without so much as a blink. Streamlined, if you will.
3) Does the end need more of a twist even though it is visual whopper?
Which brings me back to hard sell.
Maybe it is not my book at all. Maybe it is the market.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Mood: Very happy, satisfied and ready for tomorrow's work..........I love what I do and I feel lucky that have this. Very lucky. No complaints. Just anticipation.
And to pick up my mood yet further.........Bill tells me that his jazz band is going to be announced on WBGO...yo...yo...yo...you go!! And more gigs to follow. You guys rock!! (and hopefully you will pay off the new keyboard after a few gigs...heh...heh...heh...and then we can talk about my scanner...hee hee hee)
*I can work on my book all day...yay...yay...yay...*
*In my warm little studio...ho...ho...ho...*
Sunday, February 17, 2008
I am no wiz but I am more than decent. I love grammar, vocabulary and to some degree spelling. Punctuation is pain the a@@.
And the upcoming SATs have been so much fun to relive.
Take one Ephemeral every six hours and your migraine will be fleeting just like mine.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
I read a few thoughtful and generous blogs over the last few days regarding the mid-winter SCBWI New York conference. Well, I have to say for the most part as someone who truly cares about, loves, has studied and worked on pbs...the pb consensus made me completely depressed. (Thank you, Arthur for being what appears the sole optimist for speaking up... you seem to have that effect on your audience and me, as well...and I believe you. I couldn't do this anymore if it weren't for people like you...really. We should call you King Arthur of the Round Table. Let's have a round of applause).
Unless, of course this proclamation was used as a deterrent for the ninety-percent of conference submissions that aren't good enough etc.. (that might be a good reason to wave the night sticks).
I guess my point is not to read too much into everything you hear. Perhaps that is why I am trying to wean myself from the Blue Boards, etc. (I DO love them but lately it has been a real creative and motivational suck and I don't need that...real artists just do). And I want to go back to five years ago when I was fresh and happy and couldn't wait to get behind the illustration board. And that disappeared for too long because of all this extraneous extradraineous stuff.
This is called gunk. Real artists use their eyes (for visualizing), their minds (for solving problems and creating which is perhaps the same thing) and souls (for giving their stories and characters life, heart, hope and personality). Not their ears (unless it is music of course).
And the stuff that I read recently is not music to my ears.
I want someone to use my talent not suppress it.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Oh my god, no. You can shoot for the moon. You can do a Jackson Pollock splattering effect. You could just color the whole page brown and write 'poop' for the text (of course that would have to be drop-out type). What a great idea!! I just know people will love it....I mean poople... or peeple...get it???? You're gonna be rich!!!!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I tried to work on my gargoyle and all that came out was garglob.
I went to my paying place and had a tete a tete with my boss. My globheadedness left her for dead.
And tonight is my daughter's Nat'l Honor Soglobitty Ceremony. I was supposed to ladle a loving cup but instead I cradle a croupy cough.
The light at the end of my globstrel is Dave and Bill's jazz gig at a local club on V-Day. I hope I feel better by then.
Post suck. My kids are having a look at my gargoyle character and have mixed feelings about the size of his cuppy ears. Bigger, smaller, bigger, smaller. I suppose that has to do with how much he has to drink. There is always food for thought and room for change.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I have a theory. If every picture book writer could dummy as they write, chances are, they would have an easier time writing. Now that will never happen. And I don't dummy as I write, either. But I do change my text after I dummy (I did not initially).
My problem now is that I don't always agree that the problem should be stated right away. For one thing, the problem could be something shown in the visual, or something that seeps out in the first few pages. But I know certain editors insist on that. I have decided not to dwell on it.
Pacing. What I have learned is that the first few spreads are a set up (including problem) the middle is real plot, and the ending three or so pages wrap everything up with a twist or something interesting at the end. I can handle that.
I just don't want my stories to be canned, formulaic, campy or cheesy. So even though these rules apply, they are not a template for me.
As I write and dummy I keep asking myself how can I express myself beautifully, clearly, logically, and with humor and heart, and appeal to a child. And if you are writing a fantastical situation you must remember that your character no matter how fantastical, embodies a child.
So you put yourself as child in that situation and give your character the same fears, insecurities and hope etc. for his situation that could be yours were you him. So here I am up on this cathedral like it is my bedroom, or school playground...whatever. And I think about what my character wants and the things he needs to go though to get it.
This is not an easy book to write but if I get it together it will be so worth it, and it is coming together!!
That is how you (or I should say, I must write). And that is why this dummy and writing are a process.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Oh yes, bravo for you!! You braved the elements. This is called en plein air painting. Doesn't it feel great!
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
This one is old and fairly simple yet it captures the mood and tone of the story line.
Essentially, the chorus line of finches drives a cat out of his mind until he becomes a birdbrain.
This story will never get published, either
Monday, February 4, 2008
Oh, make that three. Honk honk honk. How am I supposed to know if they want a car or a goose?
Cars beep. Geese honk. And so do blowing noses. But if you don't believe me you can always ask the writer what he has in mind.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Saturday, February 2, 2008
I have learned to say it so easily and effortlessly recently. I swear, I come home from a big blow out Bat Mitzvah and two people are writing books. And this is what they ask me. My retort is "Only if I am under a paying contract. Period. And that would be a genuine publisher's contract."
Seriously, everybody and their mother is writing a book. It is crazy. And scary.
I realize I am one of them but let's get real. This is something I have been working at for years. And I know not to ask such a cavalier (altho tonight it was caviar) question.
And illustrating is, um, work. For me that means money. Ya know.
Illustrating=Work=Money. Simple formula.
Friday, February 1, 2008
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Soul, personality and gumption. And originality to boot. And part of the creator's mind.
To me all the technical skill in the world can't match the five things above.
But I like it and my boss loves me and is teaching me the biz from the inside out. She's mentoring me. "You can decide if this is something you want to pursue and eventually get a license to do it or not."
Me, I don't know yet. I don't know where this is going to go but I've got to do something. Because I need something for me. The kids are independent, my art is out, I know what kind of writing I want to do, and with all my hope and heart maybe someday I will find the right person but until then I need something real (even if it is the shitty, volatile stock market...)
What does this have to do with illustration anyway? Zippo bippo. But it kills the waiting. And makes some money. I like money.
But still I can't WAIT to get back to the drawing table...........the most frequented side of my brain is there. If this ever takes off and becomes tangible, then I'll revisit and review the situation.
But a normal together person cannot keep going like this with hope against hope. And luck (hey...my son won an Ipod Nano today in a raffle of 500 tickets...it happens...he really did ...LUCK...yet I digress)
Right now I need something real that I can hold onto and see results in.
So the point I nimbly make is keep going toward the "dream" but don't make the dream a nightmare. Be happy...keep doing what you are good at ...and something ELSE you might be good at...especially if it is offered to you. You never know. The opposite side of the brain can do wonders for the frequented side of the brain.
Chin up. Go forward and finish that illustration or two.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
For me, my right hand is for making art, and the left hand is for taking aim.
I am an artist, not a thing to throw away. You throw me away and I throw you away,too. Cathartic. I may never get anywhere in this insane business. But you will never make me feel like I am not good enough. I love to create and as I said before I hate to sub. I really hate it. If I could find one editor who loves my work that is all I would want. And to keep making wonderful art/mss. I don't like all this agent/editor subbing and I'm not good at it. But I am good at the art part and the writing is coming together.
And if you hear enough feedback sometimes it feels like clutter.
I know what to do and what not to do. But there is so much flippetygibbit to filter and after a while you start to wonder what is right or wrong. This is where that post came in about trusting yourself and staying true to yourself enough so that when the times comes you can trust your editor.
Feeling GROUCHY yet productive and confident. I did a lot today. And it turned out well. My standards of course. Two sketches a day and I hope to be done in a week...she says sheepishly. I feel great about my art and better about my writing. I have noticed that dummying a ms really helps with the writing in the end.
And as you can see, rejection letters are annoyances...kind of like flies on great food.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Yes, 'That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown' is delightful.
And it is me. Through and through. I loved everything about it. The story, the artwork and the "speaking to children" aspect. It does all three to me. Just the way I like it.
And I bought my son 'Wednesday Wars'. Another recommendation.
My bookstore sales clerk likes me. And knows me.
I hope some day she will be selling me.
And I can scan at home rather than xerox at a copy center.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I hear ya. I once wrote a story called The Bacteria Bear about my two-year-old's loved to death teddy (and no editor would open the envelope).
Children's book editors LOVE foreign writers, but I must say bacteria is a word favored by science and medical book editors.
Send it to them with samples. Just specify the sample names on the envelope. Or include them with your mss.
I tend to write pretty (even if it is gross), elegant (even if it is a gargoyle or the like), funny (smart not slapstick) and wry (I love irony and I always have). Does that mean literary? How the heck do I know that?
I am a doer and think too much. But am no judge when it comes to yours truly.
Getting back to literary for a moment. I know what literary is. It has depth. It is beautifully written. It has a real story floating out of the written/plot story. It has impact. It lingers. It haunts.
All that commercial means to me is that it appeals to lots of people. That is about it.
So if it is neither literary nor commercial it is....
I get tired just looking at it. I don't even know where to begin. Kind of like starting a dummy...but instead you have everything everywhere not nothing anywhere.
So today I started the dummy and I started my studio. The dummy has about 14 or so undone illustrations to show for it. The studio has about 100 done illustrations to show for it.
But I can't finish the dummy until I finish the studio. Because I can't find anything.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Oh, what a bother. I know. Have you been to an opthomologist? I was given the best advice recently from mine. He said, that if you do very detailed, precise work, it is best to wear nothing at all.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
there were very few newbie questions and such. There were one or two but thankfully, no one dwelled upon them. I put my face in my hands and counted to ten. And then the coast was clear.
And one of the eds used the F word a few times and that picked me up. Phew.
Why can't there be more events like this... small (like less than thirty people), nice cosy Ottoman type place (until the Salsa got going in the next harem...I almost went over there), cheap heavy drinks and cool, low key, smart and savvy, approachable people...and free (well...yeah). Nice.
And subdued lighting.
It is not that I don't like regular conferences. But I am finding them less helpful. And definitely more beginner. When you start to outgrow message boards, conferences and the like, does that mean trust yourself more? I think so.
An editor held up a copy of "The Arrival" and talked about how much he loved it.
Will I ever produce anything that good?
What I really need is a writer/illustrator who knows a lot about pbs (experienced)...and who is super talented... to critique with. And I haven't found anyone near me. I don't think I could do this thru a computer. Isolation is frustration.
Back to work. Must get samples out. Must finish dummy. Must work on queries. Must must must dust.
This one wasn't any part of that last sentence. I finished it over the course of the seminar and my questions were not garbled or unintelligible.
Queries. I talked to a published author who said he spends DAYS on them. What other word in this previous sentence makes the word DAYS meaningful?
The eds said to make it clear why you are picking them. Make it clear that you know their tastes, their line and what your book is really about and why would someone want it to read it.
Comparisons are fine but don't say your book is the next thing (that they already have). Read their webpages.
PB writers: you are telling part of the story. Your PB is not yet a pb (that is easy for me but I imagine it is harder if you don't illustrate).
The market now is tougher than ever (but I see some awesome pbs out there so there).
YA is all about VOICE. They are always looking for new and fresh voices (good thing I didn't stand too close to the eds after that martini).
Try to understand the difference between institutional, library, school and.............trade. Sometimes that is hard.
I have a lot to do. DAYS of work.
Anyhow....WOW! While it is fresh in the ole brain....................
I attended this seminar last night and came home feeling exhilarated, enlightened and inspired. Boy, did I need this right now. And I learned how they want their writer/illustrator submissions presented (which is nice because it seems different folks want different strokes (i.e. dummies or no dummies...worded in...not worded in.). I went up and asked. I am getting braver.
This was one of the best sessions I've been to. Not only were they funny (which I need) but they were honest, informative, human and genuinely in love with great books. And they said that buying a ms means you have fallen in love with it. Of course, it does. Would you work on something if you didn't love it? (That applies to marriage as well..the problem with that is it never ends).
And it seems a big thing they want to see in writing (and I have to believe art) is the creator's PERSONALITY. ........yeah. And I am also going to say LIFE and CHARACTER. I know when I buy a book that is the first thing I notice...or don't notice and don't buy.
They also said to stick with one genre/format and make it GREAT (over and over) before you move on to another. There is too much mediocrity out there.
Word lengths of picture books....lots of rolling of the eyes. Can you have a 2000 word pb?....sometimes...yes. Depends. These rules we hear OVER and OVER again are not set in stone.
Are pbs always 32 pages? NO. (BTW...I've noticed MANY pbs now are longer....yay!! )
The only time a non-artist writer should send illos is when it is a concept book.
Illustrator notes pretty much only for contradictions. Even then not really necessary.
Will editors look at writer/illustrators for a first book ?.....YES!!!!!! But they also might not. Depends.
Re: Agents. The consensus seems to be....be careful (you are putting a lot of trust in someone).
As a matter of fact, both seemed to think first timers should go right to the editor, if possible.
Anyway, I realize now how much work I have to do before I sub to them. WHEW!!
On a lighter note, a friend of mine was there and he just got his novel pubbed by one of them. Way to go!!
And maybe another commercial at my house... the location scouts are coming back for a second look. EEEP.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Oh course you are not.
I believe the original meaning comes from Alexandre Dumas. He had to come up with dumb things that musketeers might do if they were challenged by Cardinals (my favorite birds) and Dauphins (my favorite sea mammals). So he wrote a mock up book about these guys and it was so good that they eventually made it into a movie. And you know, movies are visual. So the producers said give us a dummy, Dumas. And he did. The term stuck.
The really cool thing is that there is an extra muskateer. Can you find him?
His name is d'Artagnan.
Just ask Martin Handford. Where's d'Artagnan???
I'm having a good day.