Friday, May 20, 2016

borrow

A happy accident in pencils, cardboard backing 
and color palette experiments
is my latest submission to the May SCBWI Insight's prompt word "borrow."


Don't you love getting to borrow from all the delicious books waiting in the library?

Here's a question for my creative friends -  do you ever work with prompts?

I am stretched when I work on art for Birdy's sight word cards.
I try to think of all the ways a simple word speaks to me,
looking for the story behind it.

Online resources such as SCBWI Insight drawing challenges
or Colour Collective's weekly color prompts are a fantastic springboard
for experimentation. And online challenges are abundant, once one starts looking.
 

  How do you stretch yourself? 

Do you write from prompts?

Do you ever coax words out left-handed, if you're a righty?

Sketch with eyes closed, if you're an artist?

How do you dig deeper for inspiration?


My brother, illustrator Jesse Joshua Watson continually inspires me,
He paints jaw-dropping wonder on reclaimed wood, old surfboards, drums, plywood.
Beauteous.

Some of our borrowed library treasures this week:
The Night Gardener - Terry and Eric Fan
Roar Like a Lion - by Tae-Eun Yoo
A Rock is Lively - Diane Hutts Aston, ill. by Sylvia Long
The Bear and the Piano - by David Lichtenfeld
Pax by Sara Pennypacker, ill. by Jon Klassen
Tiny Creatures : the world of microbes by Nicola Davies, ill. by Emily Sutton 
The Adventurers by Rachel Elliot, ill. by Valeria Docampo

Dream Animals - by Emily Winfield Martin



What does BORROW bring to mind?




Sunday, May 15, 2016

SAM and JUMP

Today the wildebeests and I traveled to Eagle Harbor Book Company for a book party.
Jennifer K. Mann's book SAM and JUMP is freshly out in bookstores, 
so we hopped over for the book birthday celebration.
So many delicious new books. Drool!


Jennifer Mann read from her book SAM and JUMP, 
which is a poignant story about loss, discovery, and friendship.
And then Jen shared stories of loveys lost and found. 
 The wildebeests brought up a book to be signed and loveys to show. 
 Jennifer is so engaging and gentle with all of her fans, even the small ones.


 Here's a picture of Jennifer with local authors Margaret Nevinski and Dawn Simon.
I'm so thankful I have Dawn as my critique partner. 
Her exuberance and wit are such a delight, 
and her writing critiques brilliant.
 What a treat to live near talented and gracious authors and illustrators.
What a treat to celebrate SAM and JUMP!

Friday, May 6, 2016

3000 chairs


Because... of this poem by Children's Author Nicola Davies, and the #3000chairs project.
It's worth every second it takes to read.

My husband and I had the opportunity to spend time in Kosovo with war survivors - refugees who returned to their homes carrying life-wrenching scars of war, with stories that ached in the hearing, and burned in the telling.

I wish a chair for every child running from war.
I wish refuge.
and hope.
and light.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Poet Tree


Apparently, it's Poetry Month.

Only, I've been a little distracted.
I skipped off to the city
for my local SCBWI meeting -
an art show,
a lecture from book-wise and witty
editors Mary Kate Castellani and Caroline Abbey,
and then a consultation and workshop with
art director, professor, and story genius Joy Chu.

This is the same Joy who guided me over the last two winters
in visual storytelling classes through the UCSD online extension program.

I'm still reeling with inspiration.
I could have listened for days. Months. Years.

Now I'm home, all bright and hopeful,
waiting for my brain to shape so many beautiful tips
and ideas into working order.
Time to let the front thoughts simmer.  
Time to play with poetry.

We started with a poet-tree.

The wildebeests and I cut out branchy trees and labeled each branch with simple word:
sky, go, sea, etc.
 
Next, we cut out dozens of leaves - in all flutters of color,
because it just looks more exciting that way.

Each branch grew rhyming leaf words:
sky = cry, my, pie, etc.


Because we like to make life even more thrilling, and sometimes complicated,
I thought it might be fun for the older wildebeests to thread their leaves on yarn.


Winnie added a button.


Pip used gold pen. She's really into gel pens lately.
And their finished masterpieces.

I'd love to meet a tree like this someday, shimmering with colors, yarns, and words!
I think I'd move in.


I'll share more poetry play next time.

Until then, here are a few favorites:







A Kick in the Head, An Every Day Guide to Poetic Forms - compiled by Paul Janeczko, ill. by Chris Raschka
The Random House Book of Poetry - edited by Jack Prelutsky, ill. by Arnold Lobel
Switching on the Moon - collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Peters, ill. by G. Brian Karas
Chicken Soup With Rice - by Maurice Sendak
When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne, ill. by Ernest Shepard
Now We Are Six By A.A. Milne, ill. by Ernest Shepard






Thursday, April 14, 2016

Pirates in the Library


It's National Library Week.

How glad I am for libraries this week and always.

How rich it is to have a place to borrow books,
 to load up on research, art, music, words, and stories!

How glad I am for the staff at my library, 
gracious souls who do not even sniff
when the wildebeests and I emerge
with a mountain of books to take home. 

How patient they are with the noise and flamboyance 
of kid-ruckus and story hour, 
even when small bears and dragons and pirates
weave and wail beyond their story circles.

How perfectly like a matchmaker 
is our children's librarian, 
always hunting down treasure 
to help her patrons fall in love with reading.
Happy Library Week! 

Our latest librarian-found treasures: 

When Mischief Came To Town by Katrina Nannestad
Hector and Hummingbird by Nicholas John Frith
Tea Party In the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi
Detective Gordon: the First Case by Ulf Nilsson
Love that Dog by Sharon Creech



Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Happy birthday

Happy birthday, Beverly Cleary. 
Thank you for Henry, Ramona, and Beezus.
Thank you for Klickitat Street.
Thank you for your books. 













Sunday, April 10, 2016

Postcards and clever cows


Guess what came in the mail? 
Here's a hint: they rhyme with "host-guards" and "wizness-bards."

Don't they look exciting?

I'm pretty smitten with the packaging from Moo.
I think they know about the little party that happens whenever new cards come.
Happy dance. Confetti.
They even send encouraging little notes that say things like, "you're delightful."

And can you see the cutest little business card box ever?
Even the postcards come in their own box.
Genius.

My husband heard me squealing to the postcard boxes,
"You are so cute! You are so clever! I love you. You are fabulous!"
He thought I was talking to my art.
Nope, just the gorgeous packaging. 
And I do love the way my cards look and feel,
so I suppose I was cheering for me, too.

Well done, Moo.
But maybe I'll keep my crowing in until everyone's asleep.  






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