Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fresh Talent, Katie Kath

Welcome to the Saturday illustrator spotlight on Bookish Ambition.

Courtesy Katie Kath
Two weeks ago, I featured illustrator, Kelly McMorris, whom I found while schmoozing with the online kidlit community.

In my research, I discovered she had been chosen for the SIS. It seemed only fitting to feature the other recipient of the 2013 summer scholarship, Katie Kath right before the LA conference.

Katie Kath's Mia
Katie is no less deserving of our attention here. Her style is playful and, well, fresh. Her simplicity doesn't seem forced. That is no small feat.

Katie is multi-dimensional, but I think her children's art shines brightest. She interjects emotion and energy into her drawings with minimal line. Her palette is very limited.

Perusal of her blog reveals she struggles with developing style and direction, just like many of us, but what impresses (and inspires) me when I scan her portfolio is the timelessness of her art. When I look at her cavorting kids, I see Marylin Hafner or Quentin Blake. The simple realism is honest, like Aliki with a touch of Jan Ormerod and a dash of Erik Blegvad.

Sketchbook page courtesy Katie Kath
Y'know, this is one of the best parts of my week. I love, love, love finding new artists and exploring their work. I encounter scores of people each month. The hardest part is deciding who to feature next. I try to post a mix of ages, backgrounds, and countries of origin. I can be inspired by style, color palette, technique, creativity, or backstory. I love an underdog. There are just so many artists who inspire me! What about you? Who inspires you? What grabs your attention when you sift through a sea of images?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Book Dare, Book Challenge, Booklist

No book review today, but here is an update on the 300 Picture Book Challenge.
Also a look at BookDare from author, Adam Lehrhaupt. I had fun rearranging my "to read" list to meet the criteria for July. 
Lastly you'll find a few books I'm currently reading to keep on track with my annual reading list. I hope you find some good suggestions among them.

The Paper Crane,
by Molly Bang
Picture Book 300 Challenge
Some recent Reads
Cranky Doodle, Exclamation Mark, Open This Little Book, The Paper Crane, Have You Seen My Duckling?, Ming Lo Moves The Mountain, Juma and the Magic Jinn, King Bidgood's in the Bathtub, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?, Baby Days, My Napoleon, Sweet Dream Pie

I will be updating my Pinterest board next week if you would like to get more information on these and other picture book titles.

Below you'll find the categories and bonus categories, as well as the books I chose for #BookDare.

Flotsam, by David Wiesner
"Who Could That Be
At This Hour?"

by Lemony Snicket

First Light, by Rebecca Stead
1. ocean / beach : Flotsam; A Net to Catch Time
2. red, white, or blue cover : First Light
3. adventure / trip : Sheep Take a Hike; Cousins in the Castle
4. nature / animals : For Pete's Sake; A Farm (Carl Larsson)
1. cold / winter : Snowflake Bentley
2. humor : "Who Could That Be at This Hour?"
3. parent characters : Sleepover Squad, Sleeping Over; The Ghost Belonged to Me; Peeled
4. 2013 release : Phoebe & Digger; Exclamation Mark

Here are a few books I'm working my way through to reach my goal of 50 chapter, MG, and YA for 2013.

The Beloved Dearly,
by Doug Cooney
The Rogues,
by Jane Yolen
Theater Shoes,
by Noel Streatfeild

So what's in your book bag?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fresh Talent Joie Brown

There is a lot to be learned from studying the techniques of artists in the film industry. Background designers know how to keep the focus on the action. Character designers know how to keep their characters both distinctive and consistent. Color stylists use color to tell a story, not as mere decoration. Story boards are essentially book dummies. And animators have long understood the importance of silhouette.

Joie Brown specializes in visual development, but she is also a talented storyteller.  Anyone who can envision the tale of a gummy pig lost in a primeval world of sweets,  threatened by a Candysaur, deserves some attention. I hope she inspires you too.

Confrontation, courtesy Joie Brown

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Story Contest, second place

Thanks to all who voted for "Mixed Messages", my entry in Susanna Leonard Hill's July contest. If you haven't heard, I was awarded second place! Congratulations to Cheryl Secomb and the rest of the participants, especially Tina M. Cho, whose story, "Fishing Boat to Freedom" had my vote.
The contest was not in my usual line, appeared during a particularly hectic week, and boasted challenging criteria. Trite as it may sound, I felt like a winner just for making the deadline. To move on to the finals was encouraging. To be counted among the winners by my peers, a highlight. The short story format has found a new place in my heart (and in my idea note book.)
Badge design by Loni Edwards

If you'd like to participate in another of Susanna's challenges, try her Summer Shorts and Sweets.
Thanks again to Susanna and all.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

In Memoriam, Marc Simont

Brilliant illustrator Marc Simont was a staple of my childhood and a hero of my adulthood. He passed away on July 13, 2013 at age 97. The NY Times ran an article on his passing. His elegant style never looked forced or out-of-fashion. The world seems a little dimmed without him.

Cricket The Magazine for Children, Vol. 11, No. 3, Nov. 1983
My first meeting with Marc Simont was via the pages of Cricket Magazine. This illustration for "The Apple Tree and the Magic Water", by Loty Petrovits-Andrutsopulu, translated by Nora Kazitori is from around that time. Thirty years later, his work still amazes me with its complex simplicity.

For more information:

an extensive book list from The Picture Book Cottage

Anita Silvey's 2010 birthday tribute

Simont Political Cartoons

Below are two of my favorite Simont books.
In the Year of the Boar
 and Jackie Robinson,

 by Bette Bao Lord and Marc Simont

My Brother, Ant, by Betsy Byars
and Marc Simont
Please feel free to comment with a book or memory in which Marc Simont's work touched your life.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Challenging and Beguiling

"It is challenging and beguiling to sense something inside, put it on paper (or carve it in stone), and then step back and see how much has got lost in the process. The inevitability of losing some of the idea in trying to bring it to life is what keeps me working. I am always certain that next time, I'll lose less."

-Chris Van Allsburg

Bookplate of author, editor,  John Clyde Oswald

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Illustrator, Kelley McMorris

Happy Saturday!! I love finding new and interesting illustration by people I have never heard of. I guess it gives me courage.

Island of the Blue Dolphins,
courtesy Kelley McMorris

Enter Kelley McMorris. Kelley's goal since graduation is to delve into the world of children's books. I don't think it'll take her very long to find an agent, a publisher, and a following. Her style is classic. I love her sense of color and her technique. Kelley's sensibilities seem to shine through each piece. I sense optimism in her illustrations, and I'm feeling rather optimistic this weekend.
You can check her progress on her blog or read an interesting interview on Chaos Magazine.

Don't forget to forward your favorite illustrator finds. I am always on the lookout for the next featured artist.

Wild Swans retelling by Kelley McMorris
Courtesy Kelley McMorris

Monday, July 8, 2013

Every Syllable A Spark

"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark."
-Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Bookplate for Thomas B. Costain
by George Baer?
Courtesy Bookplate Junkie

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day 2013

Happy Fourth!

If your idea of relaxing involves books, as does mine, then may I suggest these Patriotic picturebooks.

The Star Spangled Banner,
 by Peter Spier
Paul Revere's Ride, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
and Ted Rand

The Journey of the One and Only
Declaration of Independence
 by Judith St. George and Will Hillenbrand
George Washington's Breakfast,
by Jean Fritz and Paul Galdone
Will You Sign Here, John Hancock?
by Jean Fritz and Trina Schart Hyman
America, A Patriotic Primer,
by Lynne Cheney and
Robin Preiss Glasser

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Illustrator Jerry Pinkney

John Henry, 1999, by Jerry Pinkney
I just got the news that a traveling exhibit of Jerry Pinkney's illustrations has opened at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It won't be there long, so if you're in the area, take this opportunity to see his complex watercolor paintings up close

and learn more about Jerry's experienced approach to picture book illustration.

Mirandy and Brother Wind, 1997

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Free Library of Philadelphia is hosting Drawing on the Reverse Side: The Art and Life of Jerry Pinkney, and will host the man himself on July 15. Make plans to visit before the summer is out!

Puss in Boots, 2012
Goin' Someplace Special, 2001

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

We Have A Winner!

Congratulations to Michelle H, winner of The Pirate Meets the Queen picture book giveaway!

Thanks to all my new followers on Twitter and here at Bookish Ambition. I appreciate your support.

If you didn't win this time, don't despair. This is the first of many freebies to come. Stay tuned!