Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

Tennessee’s Own Kate DePalma

h1 Tuesday, October 25th, 2016


Over at Tennessee’s Chapter 16, I talk to author and Barefoot Books’ Senior Editor, Kate DePalma, about The Barefoot Book of Children, which celebrates the cultures of children all over the globe. You can click on the image above to read our chat.

Catching Up with Edward Hemingway

h1 Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Pictured above is a study, painted in oil, of the cat from Edward Hemingway’s Field Guide to the Grumpasaurus. This study, Edward says, helped him create the final color palette for the book.

Grumpasaurus, which Kirkus described as an “effervescent how-to for the wrangling of fearsome, tantrum-prone beasties,” was released by Clarion back in June, and around that time Edward and I talked about him visiting 7-Imp. But a move to a new home this summer delayed my plans. Mr. Hemingway was very patient with me, though, and I’m glad he’s finally here today. Also released this past Summer was F. L. Block’s My Miserable Life (Henry Holt), for which Edward created the cover and interior illustrations.

We talk about both books below, as well as what’s next for him. (I also asked for some book recommendations and was rewarded.) I thank him for visiting. Let’s get to it.

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My Kirkus Q&A with Jabari Asim

h1 Thursday, October 13th, 2016

I think of [Lewis] as one of the last
representatives of the golden age of civil rights oratory.”

* * *

Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got a Q&A with author Jabari Asim about Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis (Nancy Paulsen Books, October 2016). Earlier in the year, I showcased some spreads from this book, so if you want to see some of E. B. Lewis’s exquisite art for the book, head here and scroll down a bit.

The Q&A with Jabari is here this morning.

Until tomorrow . . .

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Photo of Mr. Asim taken by Shef Reynolds II and used by permission of Penguin Random House.

My BookPage Chat with Melissa Sweet

h1 Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

“Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time, waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. … Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.”
(Click to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)

I’ve got an interview with Melissa Sweet over at BookPage. Go, go, go read it if you’re so inclined, because I really enjoyed our phone chat. That is here over in BookPage land.

We discussed her brand-new biography. It’s called Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 2016) — and it’s some book. Here at 7-Imp today, I’ve got some studio images and preliminary images from Melissa, as well as a bit of final art (which you can come back and look at when you’re done with the interview). That is below. I thank Melissa for sharing.

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Aaron Becker Returns

h1 Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Early sketch and final art
(Click each to enlarge)

Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Aaron Becker visits 7-Imp today to talk about the close of his Journey trilogy. Return (Candlewick Press), the final picture book in the series, hit shelves in August and tells the further adventures of the girl whose crayon enables her to leave the world of her distracted family and enter a magical one of emperors, majestic birds, rich, cinematic landscapes, and much more. I won’t spoil the read for you, but suffice it to say that the girl’s father, satisfyingly, plays a large part in this final adventure.

I was curious to know how Aaron is feeling at the trilogy’s close, and I thank him for visiting today. He also shares some preliminary images and final art. Let’s get to it.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #503: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator Billy Renkl

h1 Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

When I feature the work of student illustrators or those otherwise new to children’s literature on the first Sunday of each month here at 7-Imp, I tend to use the title you see above, which involves the phrase “up-and-coming illustrator.” Somehow that doesn’t seem enough for the work of artist Billy Renkl, who is actually a local artist to me. (He lives and teaches in Clarksville, Tennessee.) He’s been making art and teaching art since the late ’80s. Given that he has a newfound interest, however, in illustrating children’s books—he talks a bit about that below—I’m going to run with the whole “up-and-coming illustrator” moniker, even if he’s been making beautiful art for decades now.

Renkl, who teaches art, drawing, and illustration at Austin Peay State University, works in collage. “The old, retired, images and documents that I use,” he writes at his site, “many from antique didactic texts, allow for the possibility of meaning and metaphor in their peculiar beauty and often accidental æsthetic.” His work has been featured in many solo and group exhibitions, and he has also done editorial illustrations for many clients over the years. He’s had work in Creative Quarterly (the current issue, in fact), American Illustration, Society of Illustrator’s Annual, and 3×3.

Not only is Billy sharing some of his captivating artwork today, but he also shares his thoughts on his influences, why he loves collage, how teaching informs his work, and more. I thank him for visiting. Let’s get right to it.

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My Kirkus Q&A with Michele Wood

h1 Thursday, September 29th, 2016

One of the things I am looking at as an artist is: How do I tell the truth? How do I inform the truth of the story so that you may not turn away? The truth is not always pretty.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator Michele Wood, quoted and pictured here, about Like a Bird: The Art of the American Slave Song, released this month from Millbrook/Lerner.

That Q&A is here this morning, and next week here at 7-Imp I’ll follow up with some paintings from the book.

* * * * * * *

Photo of Michele Wood taken by Kevin Parker and used by her permission.

Owl Sees Owl, and I See Rob’s Sketchbook

h1 Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Illustrator Rob Dunlavey is here this morning to talk about creating the illustrations for Laura Godwin’s Owl Sees Owl, released this month by Schwartz & Wade. (Pictured above is an early sketch.) Godwin constructed this story of an owl’s night-time adventure (home, journey, and home again) in the form of a reverso. The text is spare and the illustrations, wondrous. It’s a story possessing a quiet, lovely restraint, and I find that with repeated reads, I spot something new and rewarding.

As you’ll see in some of the images below, it’s also a fitting book for the arrival of Autumn. (To read more, head here to the Horn Book, which featured its starred review of the book as this week’s Review of the Week.)

I thank Rob for visiting to give us a peek into his sketchbook and show some final art. Let’s get to it.

[Incidentally, I got to meet Rob earlier this month, while traveling, and see his sketchbooks in person. Needless to say, his sketches are even better up close and in hand.]

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A Moment with the Art of Edel Rodriguez

h1 Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

“… By the time of his bar mitzvah, Lenny could make the gesture easily with either hand. His fingers looked like the letter shin, which, he’d learned in Hebrew school, was the first letter of the word shalom, or “peace,”
Shaddal, one of the names for God.”

I’m following up last week’s Kirkus Q&A with author Richard Michelson and illustrator Edel Rodriguez with a bit of Edel’s art from Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy, on shelves this month from Knopf.


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Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Bethan Woollvin

h1 Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Earlier this Spring, Peachtree brought readers the debut picture book from Bethan Woollvin, pictured here, who is a recent graduate of the Cambridge School of Art in England. I wrote about this book, Little Red, here over at Kirkus, because it’s a well-crafted debut. (Back in 2014, it up and won the Macmillan Children’s Book Competition over in the UK.)

And then I was curious to see more art from Bethan and learn more, so I invited her over for a 7-Imp cyber-breakfast. “If I could have any breakfast,” she tells me, “I’d go all American on you guys and have the full waffle-bacon-syrup deal, but since I’m not in New York, I’ll stick to porridge with strawberries.”

YUM. This is good with me. I’ll throw in some coffee. Also good with me is seeing more art from Bethan and getting a peek into her Little Red sketchbook. So, let’s get right to it.

And I thank her for visiting.

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