Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Michael Emberley

h1 July 7th, 2015    by jules



 
Well, dear readers, it’s been a while since I’ve done a breakfast interview. Since I’ve been teaching this summer, it takes me longer to get to these more time-intensive Q&As. My visitor today, illustrator Michael Emberley, deserves an award (or a free breakfast perhaps) for his patience with me. We started talking last year about doing this interview.

And I’m really glad we got around to it. I enjoy seeing his illustration work, and I really enjoyed chatting with him and hearing his responses to these questions. Emberley, the son of legendary illustrator Ed Emberley, has been illustrating since 1979. He was born and raised in Massachusetts but now makes his home in Ireland, near Dublin. (I highly recommend taking time to read this page of his site, where he talks about why he started illustrating and why he decided to stick with it: “I began illustrating because I needed money, but now I truly appreciate what I do. I can keep myself from being bored by doing a variety of book projects and using different techniques. This is more difficult than mastering one style but it is the only way for me.”)

Read the rest of this entry »

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #439: Featuring Akiko Miyakoshi

h1 July 5th, 2015    by jules


It just so happens that my very favorite medium in picture book illustration is charcoal. I get all googly-eyed when I see it done well. But that’s not the only reason I love this book from author-illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi, The Tea Party in the Woods, coming in August from Kids Can Press and originally published in Japan back in 2010. The visuals here are pure magic and filled with intriguing details, and the story is one of mystery and friendship.

A young girl, named Kikko, awakes to a “winter wonderland.” She heads out to deliver a pie to her Grandma, the one that her father, who has already set out for Grandma’s house, left behind. This is all slightly reminiscent of the classic tale “Little Red Riding Hood” in that the girl’s destination involves her grandmother, and her skirt and winter hat are bright reds (much like Red’s cape) in a sea of white snow and dark charcoals. But that’s where the similarities end: There’s no menacing wolf here.

Instead, she is fairly sure after heading out that she spots her father ahead, and in an effort to catch up to him, she falls in snow drifts and the pie box is crushed. She follows her father anyway to “a strange house. Has it always been here? Kikko wondered.”

 

“Kikko followed her father all the way to a strange house. Has it always been here? Kikko wondered. She couldn’t remember having seen it before.
She watched as her father went inside.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 
Read the rest of this entry »

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Daniel Miyares

h1 July 3rd, 2015    by jules



(Click to enlarge second image)


 

I’ve got a wee picture book round-up over at Kirkus today. That link is here.

* * *

I wrote over at Kirkus last week about Daniel Miyares Float (Simon & Schuster, June 2015), so today I follow up with some final spreads from the book. Daniel also sent some early sketches.

Note: I wrote in that column last week that Daniel created these illustrations digitally. That wasn’t entirely correct, and it’s since been corrected over in my piece. These were rendered via watercolors with digital tools.

Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »

The Art of Emily Hughes

h1 July 2nd, 2015    by jules


“It was a flower. It was alive and wonderful. It gave the gardener hope
and it made him work even harder.”
– From
The Little Gardener
(Click to see spread in its entirety)


 

From Wild
(Click to enlarge)


 
Last week, I talked to author-illustrator Emily Hughes over at Kirkus, so today I’m sharing some spreads from her new book, The Little Gardener, coming to shelves in August, as well as 2013’s Wild (both published by Flying Eye Books).

Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »

Loads of Headbutting Before Breakfast

h1 June 30th, 2015    by jules


“This is my rock.”
(Click to enlarge slightly)


 
British author and illustrator David Lucas has a new book out, This Is My Rock (Flying Eye, May 2015), and I’ve got some art from it today. I always like to check out Lucas’ books, and this one has a poignant back story to its dedication.

This is a story of power and ultimately, friendship, as a domineering goat atop a mountain claims it for himself but in the end discovers his own loneliness. It invites, as the Kirkus review notes, “a broader consideration of the ins and outs of ownership than the usual toy-oriented run of ‘sharing’ titles.” Lucas’ geometric designs and angular speech bubbles give the book a distinctive look. Keep your eye on the sky here to note his shooting stars and zooming clouds and rising suns (note the one on the first spread, featured above). These are visually pleasing spreads, ones evoking the Southwest in color palette and border design (though it’s never specifically noted where the story takes place).

Here’s some more art from the book. Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #438, the Love-Wins Version:
Featuring Christian Robinson

h1 June 28th, 2015    by jules



 

My one giant kick this week—all wrapped around kicks one to seven—is the news from the Supreme Court on marriage equality for all. It was a wonderful day on Friday when the news was announced, and it’s a new day in America. Today’s image is from Christian Robinson. (For those interested, the roosters can be purchased here at Red Cap Cards or as a print from Gallery Nucleus.)

Love wins, y’all!

What are YOUR kicks this week?

Oh, and the necessary spiel:

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * * * * *

Illustration is copyright © 2015 by Christian Robinson and used by his permission.

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Sergio Ruzzier and Paul Schmid

h1 June 26th, 2015    by jules


Preliminary art from My Dog Is the Best


 

Preliminary art from Whose Shoe?


 
Today over at Kirkus, I write about Daniel Miyares’ newest picture book, Float. That link will be here soon.

Last week, I wrote (here) about Eve Bunting’s Whose Shoe? (Clarion, June 2015), illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier, and Laurie Ann Thompson’s My Dog Is the Best (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, June 2015), illustrated by Paul Schmid. Today, I follow up with some early and final art from each book, thanks to Sergio and Paul.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Conversation with Emily Hughes

h1 June 25th, 2015    by jules

The idea of sustainability, respect and nurturing of the land, is not a foreign concept to me, especially because in Hawaii there are lots of traditional morals linking to the earth. …

‘Malama ka aina’ means to respect the land, and they are strong words that resonate in the islands. ‘Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Āina i ka Pono’ is the state motto of Hawaii, and I think shines closer to the book: ‘The life of the land is perpetuated by righteousness.’”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Emily Hughes, pictured here, about her newest picture book, The Little Gardener (Flying Eye Books, August 2015), as well as last year’s Wild.

That link is here.

Next week, I’ll have some art here at 7-Imp from each book.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Emily used by her permission.

Two Best Friends Before Breakfast

h1 June 23rd, 2015    by jules


Back cover illustration


 
I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Liz Rosenberg’s What James Said (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, June 2015), illustrated by Matt Myers. That review is here.

Today I follow up with a bit of art from the book, as well as one of Matt’s early sketches. The sketch you’ll see below shows that, originally, Matt had considered merely pen and ink with the only color being watercolor splashes, but plans changed and the book ended up in color. “The book,” he tells me, “became less cartoony and more (I hope) realistic — not in the style of art especially, but in the emotion. A more cartoony book wouldn’t have been as personal.”

Enjoy, and thanks to Matt for sharing.

Read the rest of this entry »

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #437: Featuring Jessixa Bagley

h1 June 21st, 2015    by jules



“That evening, Buckley and Mama went for a walk.
Buckley brought along the little boat he had made especially for Papa
with a note attached that said, ‘For Papa. Love, Buckley.'”


 
I read a brand-new picture book this week, which I found really moving. It’s from debut author-illustrator Jessixa Bagley (pictured below), originally from Portland, Oregon, and now living in Seattle. “[M]y love of picture books,” Jessixa writes at her site, “has been the constant goal my entire life and has always been a working focus.”

Boats for Papa (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, June 2015), which will be on shelves at the end of this month, is about Buckley, an anthropomorphized beaver who lives with his mother in a tiny house by the sea. “They didn’t have much, but they always had each other.” Buckley’s father is gone. One doesn’t really know why—I suppose it’s possible he took off for one reason or another—but it’s also perfectly plausible that he has died. Readers who look closely will see loving family photos, which include Buckley’s father, on the walls of the house.

[Note: Plot spoilers below!]

Read the rest of this entry »