Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

A Visit with Stephen Alcorn: For the Love of Drawing

h1 Tuesday, November 24th, 2015


The Alcorn Homestead & Gallery; Mixed media on paper


 
Pictured above is an image from illustrator and printmaker Stephen Alcorn. It is an allegorical image depicting Alcorn and his wife and two daughters in and around their New York home and studio. Alcorn’s other home, his childhood one, was one that included his father — artist, designer, and children’s book illustrator John Alcorn, who died in 1992. (There’s more information here at 7-Imp about John and his work.)

Stephen is visiting 7-Imp once again today, in an in-his-own-words type of piece, to talk about his work and, specifically, the teaching he’s been doing in beautiful Florence, Italy. Stephen is a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University/School of the Arts. Florence is also where he spent his formative years.

Let’s get right to it. …

Read the rest of this entry �

More from Lisbeth Zwerger . . .

h1 Thursday, November 19th, 2015


“‘It is the same thing with you,’ said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn’t much.”


 
Today, I’m following up my Q&A last week with Lisbeth Zwerger—be sure to check out the piece Witch Has Turned Child Into an Apple, created when she was five, because I love it!— with some art from the three following Zwerger books:

  • L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard Oz, for which Lisbeth originally created the illustrations in 1996 but NorthSouth Books is releasing in a new edition this month;
  • Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, for which Lisbeth originally created the illustrations in 2004 but Minedition released in a (mini) new edition last month;
  • and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, for which Lisbeth originally created the illustrations in 1999 but Minedition is also releasing in a mini edition next year.

Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry �

One Picture-Book Roundtable Discussion
Before Breakfast #5: Featuring Team Roar!

h1 Wednesday, November 18th, 2015



 
Good morning, Imps. I’ve got another picture book roundtable discussion today, this one with the team behind Roar!, which was released by Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster in October.

Roar!, written by Tammi Sauer, tells the story of a young boy playing imaginatively in his home-made dragon costume. He’s pretty pumped about his big, scary dragon get-up. But then two dragons appear and tell him he’s not actually scary, big, toothy, and fierce. The boy deflates at the news, but then the dragons try to cheer him up — only to realize there are a lot of feats they can’t pull off themselves. All’s well that ends well when the boy comes to realize he’s made some new friends.

Back here in 2013, the book’s illustrator, Liz Starin, visited 7-Imp. (Liz is also one of the blogger’s at the wonderful Pen & Oink.) This is her picture book debut, and I knew I’d want to have her back to the site to talk about it. But she’s not alone, as I said: Tammi’s also here, as well as the book’s designer, Laurent Linn, and its editor, Sylvie Frank. They’re here to talk about the book’s creation.

Let’s get to it. I thank them for visiting. (Note: There’s also a sneak-peek below of new art from James E. Ransome and Vanessa Brantley-Newton.)

Read the rest of this entry �

Of Moons and Magic with Melanie Crowder

h1 Thursday, October 29th, 2015

I was … rolling around the idea of negative emotions—grief, regret, shame—and how we allow them to form the walls that imprison us.

I wondered what that prison might look like if it were a tangible thing — and how a person would ever find their way free.”

* * *

I chat with author Melanie Crowder today over at Kirkus about her new middle-grade novel, A Nearer Moon (Atheneum, September 2015).

That Q&A is here.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo taken by Tiffany Crowder and used by permission of Melanie.

Robo-Sauce for Breakfast:
A Visit with Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri

h1 Monday, October 26th, 2015


” … If only there were some sort of magical ‘Robo-Sauce’
that turned you into a giant awesome robot …”


 

Author Adam Rubin and illustrator Daniel Salmieri are visiting this morning to talk about their newest book, Robo-Sauce, just released by Dial last week. It’s the story of a boy who drinks a sauce that turns him into a robot, and after he concocts a robo-laser of sorts, he turns everything around him into a robot — including the very book he’s in. That’s right: The book has a one-of-a-kind moment—a sort of hybrid fold-out and dustjacket all in one with clear instructions for readers—that transforms the book into a robo-book. If you’re confused right about now, you can either a) read below, where Adam discusses this moment in the book; b) look at the images below of the fold-out moment itself; or c) watch Betsy Bird’s video about it. Better yet, find a copy of the book and experience it for yourself. It’s pretty great, and the story is very fun.

Our chat today is rather Robo-Sauce-centric, but maybe I can have these two back to 7-Imp another day to talk about the mighty funny Dragons Love Tacos (2012), not to mention this year’s Meet The Dullards, written by Sara Pennypacker (with art by Daniel here at 7-Imp). I also failed to ask them what their fascination with sauces is (salsa, robo-power-inducing sauce), so I’ll ask them that next time too.

I thank them for visiting.

Read the rest of this entry �

A Peek at Jonathan Bean’s Drawing Table …

h1 Thursday, October 22nd, 2015



 
Last week over at Kirkus, I chatted (here) with author-illustrator Jonathan Bean about his newest picture book, This Is My Home, This Is My School, which will be released next week from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Today, he shares not only a bit of final art from the book, but also early sketches and final inks from some of the spreads. If you’re wondering why he cut out portions of some of his drawings, as you’ll see below, he explains that in the Q&A. Here’s what he said last week:

With This Is My Home, This Is My School, I wanted that line to feel like it had been lived in and was beginning to fall apart some, as buildings will when they age and are occupied by energetically active people. So, I inked the whole thing with a hand-carved bamboo pen, often drawing at arm’s length. I also used cheap paper so that the work wouldn’t feel precious and so I wouldn’t worry about drawing things over and over. When, on the fifth or 10th or 13th time, I got a face or tree or stove I liked, I cut it out and pasted it to the Frankendrawing that I gradually completed like a puzzle.

Pictured above is an early cover sketch.

I thank Jonathan for sharing.

Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry �

Classin’ It Up with Jonathan Bean

h1 Thursday, October 15th, 2015

With This Is My Home, This Is My School, I wanted that line to feel like it had been lived in and was beginning to fall apart some, as buildings will when they age and are occupied by energetically active people. So, I inked the whole thing with a hand-carved bamboo pen, often drawing at arm’s length. I also used cheap paper so that the work wouldn’t feel precious and so I wouldn’t worry about drawing things over and over. When, on the fifth or tenth or thirtieth time, I got a face or tree or stove I liked, I cut it out and pasted it to the Frankendrawing that I gradually completed like a puzzle.”

* * *

I chat with author-illustrator Jonathan Bean this morning over at Kirkus about his newest picture book, This Is My Home, This Is My School, coming later this month from Farrar Straus Giroux.

That Q&A is here, and next week I’ll have some art and preliminary images from the book here at 7-Imp.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo used by permission of Jonathan Bean.

A Visit with Illustrator Steven Henry

h1 Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Illustrator Steven Henry (the artist formerly known as Steven D’Amico) is here today to talk about a couple of his brand-new illustrated titles, as well as look back on a few of his earlier ones. Steven, who has also worked as a designer and art director, debuted in picture books a little over ten years ago, and today he shares a bit of his artwork — soft and breezy pen-and-ink (for the most part) artwork on this soft and breezy Autumn Day. (And pictured above is early concept art from Rebecca Colby’s It’s Raining Bats & Frogs, released in August. More on that below.)

Without further ado …

Read the rest of this entry �

My Chat with Ronald L. Smith, If You Didn’t Know …

h1 Thursday, October 1st, 2015

I … don’t think we as writers should censor ourselves too much when it comes to scary stuff for kids. Everyone likes a good, scary story! These books also help kids learn about life and consequences and bravery.

But don’t make the mistake of talking down to kids or trying to moralize. They can sniff it out miles away.”

* * *

Supernatural Southern Gothic, anyone? Over at Kirkus today, I talk to debut author Ronald L. Smith, pictured here, about his new novel Hoodoo, released last month by Houghton Mifflin.

That conversation is here.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo by Erik Kvalsvik and used by permission of Ronald L. Smith.

Momo & OHora (& Frank Zappa) Before Breakfast

h1 Wednesday, September 30th, 2015


Author-illustrator Zachariah OHora visits 7-Imp today to talk about his newest picture book, My Cousin Momo (Dial, June 2015). Momo is a flying squirrel, and he throws his cousins for a loop when he visits and does things his own way. You know, we all have a cousin like that (thank goodness, because normal people worry me). It’s a story about family and acceptance and embracing your inherent weirdness, and it’s very funny. OHora has a style all his own, and you can see that for yourself below in the art he shares. He also shares some preliminary images, which are always fun to see.

Let’s get right to it. …

Read the rest of this entry �