Thursday, February 28, 2013

IF: Whisper

Here is a portion of an old illustration of a library scene, definitely a place you should whisper!
Illustration by Joanne Roberts

 Illustration Friday topic: Whisper.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Marcie's Food Fight

In honor of World Read Aloud Day, Marcie Colleen is hosting a food fight.
Pick up your badge at her blog, The Write Routine, and spread the word.
Food Fight badge illustrated by Julie Rowan-Zoch

If you decide to participate, I'd love to know about it.  See you in the cafeteria!

Monday, February 25, 2013

More To Life

"There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more."
- Morrissey

Courtesy Brown University Library

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Storybook Dream Studio

Last week, Jennifer Bertman inspired me to explore writers' and artists' creative spaces.  It was so much fun, I thought I'd post my personal dream cottage to inspire and amuse.

Gwyndolyn cottage from Storybook Homes
After I'd imagined my ideal space, I found architects Samuel Hackwell and Andrew Perkins had the same ideas.
I am now the proud owner of a Storybook Homes preview book, as well as the perfect site for my studio.  Someday it will sit atop a long, sloping area of green.  There are turkeys, bears, deer, squirrels, and plenty of cats about.  An ideal situation for a creative space, don't you think?

Home of Jill Brinson with a perfect library loft
The Gwyndolyn has a full second story, but I don't think mine will need more than a loft.  Designer Jill Brinson's home is a perfect vision, matching my ideal dream-studio interior.  It would house plenty of books and admit plenty of light.

Josh Keyes in his studio

Of course, I'm sure it will end up looking more like the interior of Josh Keyes's studio space: stuffed with books, equipment, supplies, inspiration.  It's obviously a work place, not a showplace. That's OK, because I can't function in a stark environment.

You can see more inspiring places on my Pinterest boards.

Hey, we can dream!

What does your ideal studio look like?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Never Enough Bookcases

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookcases."
-Anna Quindlen

Bookplate of James Boyd
Designed by Frederick Cross
Courtesy Pratt Institute Libraries

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Illustrator Julia Sarda

El Tarasco del Volcan, illustrations by Julia Sarda
Julia Sarda is an illustrator living in Barcelona.  Although she is published, I wanted to showcase her work because her books are not available in the US.

Her characters seem to tell their own stories.  She uses bold color and dynamic light to give the scenes life.

I think most of Julia's work is digital. She does concept art and character design as well as illustration.

Peruse her blog or visit her Deviant Art gallery to see more of her portfolio.

Thanks to Bonnie Branson for introducing me via Pinterest.

Picture Book Friday Changes

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Authors Behind-the-Scenes Secrets

This would make a great studio.
Do you love finding out how an author thinks?  How they plan?  Where they feel most creative?
Jennifer Bertman does.  Her blog From The Mixed-Up Files of Jennifer Bertman features author interviews and exclusive peeks at their creative workspaces. You'll find plenty of tips successful writers use everyday to organize, inspire, and motivate themselves.
Jenn herself offers some valuable tips for creating believable characters in today's Valentine's Day post.

tiny writer's retreat

Here are a few photos to encourage you to build your own creative space.

DIY: closet converted to flat files
Do you have a ritual that helps you focus on the business of writing?  What's unique about your workspace and why does it work for you?

Comment or email me.  I'd love to share what you've learned.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reading List 2013

February already?
Okay, it is past time to share my 2013 reading goals.

Portrait of Maria de la Sallent,
by Josep Guardiola Bonet
I nearly reached my goal for 2012, completing 48 books, but even so I decided my annual list of 50 books needed a shake-up.
What I need most is flexibility.  I usually use the first week of the new year to finish up any books that didn't get completed by December 31, then plan the new reads for the coming year.  As a list-maker, half the fun is writing down the books I can't wait to start, searching my shelves and scraps of paper, browsing catalogs, blogs, and PW.  But as much as I enjoy seeing the stack in my bedroom shrink week after week, I realized I miss the thrill of the hunt: that electricity which propels me through the initial chapters of a new book and into the wee hours of the morning.
In consequence, no list.  Generally, I'd like to vary the genre, category, decade this year.  I'd like to make progress in a different series at least once a month.  I am planning a couple of re-reads too.
Participating in the 300 Picture Books in 2013 Challenge means I plan to read picture books on a regular schedule and make time for cataloging them, though I always try to fit in as many picture books as possible.
My library is getting to this point.
Reevaluating my list has led to a startling discovery.  Sadly, I have realized the need to reduce the size of my library.  I finally got a room of my own (almost), including a rolling library ladder and eight bookshelves with about 146 square feet of space for books . . .and I still don't have enough room.  Even with the shelves in the living room, hall, and four bedrooms!  I am neglecting reading books I really want because I have so many here at home that I feel I ought to be reading.   Out with the old . . . I'll update you as I get them listed for sale.  Plus I have some great giveaways planned.

I'm currently reading
by Raina Telgemeier

by Joan Bauer
The Sorcerer of the North,
by John Flanagan
Thirteenth Child,
by Patricia Wrede

I Capture the Castle,
 by Dodie Smith
The Marriage Bureau
for Rich People,
by Farahad Zama

What are you reading?  
Which do you recommend?  
  What are your bookish goals for 2013?

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Truly Good Book

"A truly good book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon, and by moonlight."
-Robertson Davies

Bookplate for St. Olaf College
designed by Jonathan Stenseth 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Saturday Spotlight on Amanda Kastner

Illustrations courtesy Amanda Kastner
Amanda is an illustrator with a penchant for stories.
I love many of the qualities in Amanda's ink and watercolor illustrations, but most of all I love her fearlessness.  One look at her blog will tell you she is always looking for a new project, stretching herself as an artist.  That is a trait which I both admire and aspire to.

Along with her varied portfolio, you can find Amanda illustrating recipes at They Draw & Cook, designing paper dolls, and even publishing her own e-picture book.

Friday, February 1, 2013

PB 300 Update

Sponsored by Shar Mohr
Just a quick list of picture books I read in the last two weeks for Shar Mohr's challenge.  I hope some of these are on your to-read list.  If you have suggestions for books you'd like to see reviewed here or recommendations for picture books you can't live without, please contact me.  I'll be sure to fit them in and link to your site.

Some of these books are old favorites.  Some were chosen for the illustrator.  Some were chosen because they have an unusual concept or layout.  I'll be pointing out some great characteristics in the writing of these and other books during my PB Dummy Challenge spotlights, so stay tuned.
By Karen Beaumont and
LeUyen Pham
The Little Daragon
By Heather Amery
and Stephen Cartwright
The Boss Baby
By Marla Frazee
Obadiah the Bold
by Brinton Turkle
Sailing Off To Sleep
By Linda Ashman
and Susan Winter

Bunk Beds
By Elizabeth Winthrop
and Ron Himler

The Tournament
By Heather Amery
and Stephen Cartwright

The Royal Broomstick
By Heather Amery
and Stephen Cartwright
I Can Fly
By Ruth Krauss
and Mary Blair
Genie's ABC
By Eric and Susan Goldberg