7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #39: Featuring Julia Denos

h1 December 2nd, 2007 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: We have Jackie at Interactive Reader to thank for our new-found adoration of Julia Denos’ illustrations. Jackie featured Julia and her snowflake in October for the Blogging for a Cure effort for the Robert’s Snow auctions. Here is that feature; if you missed it, go read and enjoy, ’cause it’s a great interview and feature, and — bonus! — Julia is pictured eating one of her picture books and saying, “as a fanatical picture booker, I can’t deny the urge to chew a well designed spread.” This statement immediately endeared her to me, as I understand this urge, you see. And Eisha was all squealy over her artwork, too, proclaiming it as “crazy beautiful,” which it is, and saying that it’s “exactly the sort of art I’d want to create if I had a shred of talent.” You can see at that feature of Jackie’s that a lot of other bloggers immediately fell in love with Julia’s style and immense talent. So I asked Julia (who I think also goes by “Jules” — kickin’) if we could feature her today, and lucky for us, she agreed.

The illustration above is one of three we chose to show you today (Julia also sent us some brand-new art work, so if you just can’t wait, scroll down below). She gave us free reign to choose from her site, and Eisha and I found it too hard to choose just one illustration. Here’s what Julia said about the ones we chose and, in particular, that one: “The pieces you both chose are my oldest ones on there! Tried and true they have stuck by me though. The girl with the bear on the ice I just made out of pure coziness one winter night in CT. I also needed to think of an idea for a Christmas mailer. The girl reminds me a lot of my sister Christa when she was younger.”

Then we saw this one . . .

“As for the autumn piece,”, Julia told us, “that was created in 2005 . . . The words came first for that piece, which happens sometimes for me. ‘Then Clara caught a story’ was the line plucked from a story I have not yet written, except for a paragraph, but still have floating around in there somewhere. The children’s names in that piece were also very clear to me from the get go: Peter is in the back, Demetri is rolling down the hill and Saul is my favorite with his arms open to the wind.”

And then there’s this one, which is just ridiculously wonderful, as Eisha put it. About this one, Julia told us: “The ‘Skyboots’ piece was done in art school actually, in my Sci-Fi illustration class at the Art Institute of Boston. The clouds are white ink that were unintentional. The bottle spilled literally on the plank of wood I was painting on and I just started moving the spill all over, and loved it! Mistakes are the best things that could ever happen to an artist I think.”

And, finally, as for the brand-spankin’-new art work she sent us, it’s below. It’s her latest book cover, which she just finished and sent off this week for ZonderKidz, to be published in August 2008:

It’s a book acting as a gigantic reply letter from the author, Nancy Rue, to her young girl fans (hence the fan mail the girl is composing). So this file is the bare-bones final art. In other words, this is exactly what I handed to the art director and designer. She will then crop it, fit it into the series’ border template and add a few words and the ISBN barcode in. The right side is the front and the left is the back (just imagine it wrapping around a book as is). I wanted to send it in with the messy edges and everything to show what the art looks like before design. I used watercolor, gouache (bright blue, my favorite!) pencil and ink, and finally, Photoshop. I loved working on this piece so much, I’m glad to be sharing it with you! It is definitely a step in growth for me artistically. I am starting to see how to blur the line between the love of experimenting and play on my own time, and the work for clients.

Many thanks to Julia for sharing these with us — from one Jules to another and from Eisha. And, remember, if you want even more information on Julia and her beautiful illustrations, there’s always Jackie’s recent interview as well as Julia’s own blog, The Cinnamon Rabbit.

{Late-morning addendum: Tonight on CBS is the television movie adapation of Pictures of Hollis Woods, which will open with some art work from Julia. You can read more about it here}.

* * *

By way of explanation for any new folks (who we hope will leave their lists), our weekly 7 Kicks list is the meeting ground for listing 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.

*******Jules’ kicks*******

1). Julia Denos is here, and she’s so talented it must hurt. Those illustrations are a big kick for me this week.

2). Grace Lin sent me an original piece of art, featuring Lissy and her paper animal friends in the snow (and there’s a snowflake on Lissy’s nose) and a sentiment about gratitude from Henry Ward Beecher. It’s the most beautiful, most special piece of mail I’ve ever received, and it’s so lovely that it made me cry.

3). Long story, but I put in the mail this week a happy drawing my three-year-old daughter, Miriam, made for Naomi Shihab Nye’s mother, also named Miriam. Yes, from one Miriam to another. I hope that when my Miriam is older, she will appreciate how very mighty cool it is to have corresponded with Naomi Shihab Nye’s mother. For the record, my Miriam drew for Naomi’s Miriam the following: a sea rock; a giant squid; an apple; a fish; a person swimming; a whale; a “jumping person”; a heffalump and his mommy; and blueberries.

4). I actually might have posted this before, but I love this link. Pippi is a coffee-lover after my own heart. (I’ve seen this before, but thanks to The Brookeshelf for showing it to me again. I had forgotten about its awesome-ness).

5). I sent a copy of Samsara Dog to a good friend who said, after reading it, he sat down in the floor and cried. It doesn’t sound like a kick that I made a friend cry, but it was a good, cathartic cry.

6). I started my holiday-book-review round-up yesterday. I have mixed feelings about the holiday, as I explained this week, but I like a good challenge.

7). See #2 again. Really, it’s beautiful. Best kick in a long time.

*******eisha’s kicks*******

1* Julia Denos’s illustrations. Lovely.

2* I got a sweet print from Grace Lin, too, even though I’ve said repeatedly to anyone who will listen: Blogging For a Cure was ALL JULES. I deserve no thanks! I totally love the print, though, so thanks to you, Grace!

3* No temp jobs this week, so I spent a lot of time reading, reading, reading for my Cybils YA Fiction panel.

4* I also put together three bookshelves and most of a dresser from our trip to Ikea last week.

5* And I’ve gotten some of my xmas shopping done.

6* I discovered another new yummy ice cream flavor: Bordeaux Cherry Brownie.

7* And I’ve been totally addicted to The Fratellis’ album Costello Music this week. It’s great music for putting furniture together. My downstairs neighbors probably hate me all the more, though, because in between all the hammering and screwgunning, every time “Creepin’ Up the Backstairs” comes on I have to take a dance break.

That’s my kicks for the week. How about you?

28 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #39: Featuring Julia Denos”

  1. Happy Sunday, Everyone!

    J and E, thanks SO much for featuring Julia Denos! I am drooling all over the place at these illustrations. “Then Clara caught a story.” So so beautiful.

    It is beyond wonderful that Grace sent you both those prints. You worked hard and got everything into gear, so the gesture was well deserved.

    Eisha, if you can stop gorging yourself on Bordeaux Cherry Brownie ice cream for a moment, I’d like to know who your favorite Monkee is!

    Here are my kicks:

    1. I’ve made some progress on my Christmas shopping, and mailed most of it off to Hawaii. Yay!

    2. I “attended” my first Carnival of Children’s Literature at Mother Reader’s blog last week, and had a blast.

    3. I’ve been working on a new series of interviews I’m launching in 2008, “Writers in the Kitchen,” and so far, everyone I’ve asked has said yes!

    4. Read a really really fine interview on Sarah Miller’s blog with Pamela Smith Hill, about her book on Laura Ingalls Wilder. I swallowed it whole!

    5. Received my copy of Sherman Alexie’s book and can hardly wait to dive into it.

    6. Been receiving some yummy recipes for my December cookie party.

    7. Had a fun and productive meeting with my writer’s group on Friday.

    Have a great week!

  2. I’m a Peter girl, Jama, and proud of it. Mike’s a close second.

  3. The purples in that first illustration are slaying me. And where, oh where, can I buy winged red boots?

    Eisha: yeah for dance breaks! And jules, the Miriam-to-Miriam drawings are just too awesome for words.

    My kicks this week are these:
    1. The actor who plays Landry on Friday Night Lights.
    2. The freezer scene in The True Meaning of Smekday.
    3. Disc 1 of Helen Mirren as Elizabeth I has arrived.
    4. The characters in my WIP are smarter than I am, thank goodness.
    5. My friend Donna is blogging, and she makes me laugh.
    6. I tried to recommend the Tripods Trilogy to my son, and he informed me that he’d already read them at school. Thank you teachers, for having good classroom libraries!
    7. My daughter’s Christmas list includes poetry books.

  4. Oh, Sara, I love the freezer scene too! “SHOOT FORTH THE LASERS!” And thanks for the link to your friend’s blog!

  5. Yay for Peter Tork, Eisha! He’s my favorite too 🙂 . . . and, he was very nice to us annoying teeny bopper fans.

  6. […] in the opening scenes. Congrats Julia! In fact, it seems to be all about Julia today. Over at 7 imp you’ll find that Ms Denos is this week’s featured illustrator. Oh to be able to […]

  7. I love the illustrations and the heads up about the opening scenes of Hollis Woods. Will be on the look out.
    I can’t help but jump in on the Monkees survey. I like Mickey.
    Jules, I love that your little girl sent artwork to Naomi Shihab Nye. I checked out Habibi to a 5th grade girl this week and shaid you must read this.
    Eisha, yay for xmas shopping, I got some done at the “bookfaire” held at Barnes and Noble for our school. (I know not independent but hopefully we got a a lot of sales with people saying they are buying to help our school).
    The kicks have been few this week. I am feeling natinal board swamped.
    1. Snow flurries yesterday
    2. Being a grandma and spoiling the grandgirls by buying stuffed reindeer for them yesterday at a mini gingerbread house making event. It was such an impulsive buy.
    3. The email from a mom recounting the conversation with her sick daughter about what time is was and her class must by at library listening to a story and how she was missing that.

    Really, that’s all I got this week. Have a great week.

  8. Hey, those are good ones, Jone. Esp. the email you got from the sick girl’s mom. How lovely to be appreciated.

    Also, Mickey is my third favorite.

    Also-also, we have actual SNOW here today! Just a couple of inches, but enough to cover everything. Lovely!

  9. And Jama – I don’t think I’ve ever met another Peter girl. We gotta stick together. I’m trying not to be jealous that you met him in person.

  10. Jama, I need to check out your blog, ’cause Sara mentioned this week some great cookie thing you did, and I was gonna go read and got sidetracked. Cookies, mmm.

    I really want to read that Alexie book, too. I hope you enjoy it.

    Sara, kick #7 is really exciting! I hope my daughters grow up to do the same. I’m such a geek that I squealed when I read that.

    Jone, good luck with the national boards.

    I completely forgot to type that about the CBS movie tonight and Julia’s illustrations, so I’ll go addend to the post.

    My new kick: I spent some time this morning starting 100 Cupboards. Good stuff so far.

  11. P.S. Sara, not only do I want a pair of red skyboots, too, but I love the story about the mistake with the ink bottle.

  12. Gorgeous illustrations. I especially like the one with the red balloon. Here are my kicks for the week:

    1. I received an unexpected box of amazing chocolates in the mail from Mary Lee Hahn. I liked them so much that I ordered some for my parents.
    2. I did my Christmas shopping for my parents, because I won’t be seeing them on Christmas, and have to mail their gifts.
    3. We bought a Christmas tree, though we haven’t decorated it yet. And this week we watched The Santa Clause, The Santa Clause II, and Frosty.
    4. I received lots of love from my blog friends regarding my upcoming stint on PBS Parents. You all are the best! I can’t wait to get started on it.
    5. The Talented Clementine lived up to my high expectations. I’m such a huge Clementine fan now.
    6. Work was very hectic last week, but we got a purchase order from a new customer site. Our customer pool is small enough that this is still a big deal.

    And for this week, I’ve decided to stop at six. Happy December!

  13. Jules your list is lovely and booksy this week! And how lovely of Grace.

    Eisha, I’m glad we’re not the only ones with Ikea furniture still being put together! Love the breakdancing part of the process.

    Jama, a cookie party?! That sounds like a great idea.

    1. Despite a very unfortunate start to the conference I went to in the Netherlands this week (including the organiser forgetting to tell me that the actual conference was in another town and there was a bus to take everyone there, not having enough cash to pay for the taxi I then needed, and realising I had lost my datastick (ie presentation) in the rush and my backup was at the hotel) my presentation went well.
    2. The rest of the trip included getting to look around the local countryside, very interesting and a farmer gave us a bottle each of homemade egg alcohol stuff
    3. I got to go swimming as there was a heated indoor pool at the hotel, yay!
    4. I spent the flight home voluntarily talking to the Dutch lady sitting next to me. I am generally very hesitant about talking to people when I am unable to escape if they turn out to be mad or boring, but this woman was cool. We talked about invasive plants (always the quickest route to my heart), Australian Aborigines, learning to swim and our families.
    5. I was given a bunch of flowers a couple of weeks ago and they are still going strong. I hope they are not undead daisies.
    6. I put up tinsel around the stair banisters and it looks very cheerful.
    7. Today we went to the lovely Bodian Castle, which is a moated medieval castle in East Sussex. This sort of thing makes moving to the UK seem like a very goo d idea!

  14. Hee! Breakdancing – I wish! Emmaco, you must tell us more about this egg alcohol stuff. If it’s eggnog-like, that’s cool. Otherwise I think I’m grossed out. And congrats on overcoming a LOT of obstacles and still putting on a great presentation.

  15. What fabulous artwork this week! I love it.

    I’m not sure I’ve got 7 whole kicks this week, but I might be close.

    1. Singing the amazing Congolese Missa Luba on Thursday night with Tricia and my choir–it was awesome, as I’m sure she’ll agree.
    2. Getting back together with my writing buds on Tuesday (again including Tricia, aren’t I lucky?)
    3. Finally getting all the paperwork done on our new-to-us car. Yay!
    4. Reading The Name of this Book is Secret What a hoot! And then I handed it over to my ten-year-old, who finished it in about 26 hours. Seriously, I’m not sure he slept, but he read the whole thing and loved it.
    5. Getting my December column for Literary Mama mostly done. Look for it next Sunday, if I’m lucky!
    6. Seeing No Country for Old Men. Whoo, that was intense–amazingly well-acted, thought-provoking, and, well, intense. I hope I don’t have nightmares.
    7. OK, did I mention the MIssa Luba? It was that much fun.

  16. Libby, I have no idea what the Congolese Missa Luba is, but I’m going to have to try to find a way to hear it. The name itself has won me over, much less the fact that it warranted 2 of your 7 kicks.

  17. Ooooh, all this prettiness. I can hardly stand it. And by the way, boy-oh-boy do you guys deserve all the love and thanks you’re getting for the Robert’s Snowstorm you cooked up!

    So, my kicks are subtle since my husband’s been away seeing his very, very sick dad. So, there’s a little sadness. Here’s what balanced it out:

    1. We got out a couple of Christmas boxes today. No tree yet, since my husband would grieve if we did that without him, but ALL of our Christmas picture books and CD and the big South American nativity set that I got from my grandmother’s house when she died. It felt really cozy at our house tonight.

    2. My girls had a double camp-out sleepover last night so I was in utter peace here and could even go for a long run this morning and stop for coffee afterwards.

    3. I’m reading some Alice Munro.

    4. Almost all the laundry’s done.

    5. I meet with my writery-exchange friend tomorrow morning.

    6. I love This American Life.

    7. My next book is being sent for copyediting which means that I think, gasp, I may, gasp, actually, gasp, be finished revising! GASP…

    Happy week, ya’ll…

  18. #1 – That first illustration is just what it’s like here
    today, snowy and beautiful. It’s early enough in the season that it’s still exciting to wake up to five inches of new snow, as I did this morning.
    #2 – The last couple weeks have been challenging, but the people who love me have been helping me through the challenges.
    #3 – For instance, my BFF and her husband bought me a new garage door opener as an early birthday present on account of the way my old one broke.
    #4 – My father-in-law spent time yesterday and today installing the aforementioned garage door opener.
    #5 – Snow + New Garage Door Opener = Happy Warm Me
    #6 – My dad bought me two new tires for my car (also an early b-day present).
    #7 – Yesterday, I got to spend a nice day at home where I did some chores and read and baked chocolate chip cookies to thank my father-in-law for helping me with the garage door. That felt really good.

    Eisha, I will find this Bordeaux Cherry Brownie ice cream. Cherries and ice cream are a good combination. Cherries and brownies and ice cream? Even better.

  19. Jen, those chocolates look very, very scrumptious. My husband and I are about to watch “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” (the one Perry Moore produced), and I might have to get some chocolate before we do.

    And, hey, I haven’t looked at your blog this week, and it looks like I missed some great news. PBS Parents? Awesome.

    Emmaco, my, what great kicks. I cheer the fact that you had a good flight conversation and did not get stuck talking to a mad or boring person. That’s rare, huh? Congrats on the presentation, and, yeah, what’s egg-alcohol? If it’s egg nog, yum.

    Libby, looking forward to your new Literary Mama column!

    Liz, great kicks, though I’m sorry to hear about your father-in-law. Congrats on the book news. We, too, did the Christmas thing this weekend. Our tree is up. My husband picked a very lovely, very very tall fir (but the part of the ceiling where the tree goes is very tall, so it’s perfect). Best of all, my girls keep touching each ornament and making up stories about them (well, ahem, the touching and pulling and yanking can be a bit of a headache, but telling stories about multiple ornaments is neat to me).

    Adrienne, when’s your birthday? You must not be humble and ‘fess up. Or at least tell me offline (or in an email, which isn’t really offline. Whatever. You know what I mean).

  20. My kicks:

    1. Our rooster’s constant crowing is not a kick, but his supreme beauty is. You’re so pretty, I’m always telling him. He gives me the evil eye back.
    2. Calling the chickens and seeing them come running over to me. (Admittedly, I had food.)
    3. Snow today! Just a little.
    4. Reading Fantastic Mr. Fox with Jr.
    5. Watching Jr. plop down in a chair at the library and read for 20 minutes. Voluntarily!
    6. Hearing the compilation CD “Soul Christmas” playing at the Gap today. Dang, I love that CD. I have to find mine.
    7. Working with the first graders at the school where I volunteer. They’re so motivated to learn to read.

  21. Hello All!
    I had a horrible, no good, very bad week (no really), so I have only a few things to speak of, most of which Libby has already shared!

    1. Lovely, amazing Libby invited me to join her choir in September. I have been rehearsing with them for weeks and finally got to sing a Congolese mass with a wonderful group of folks. What fun it was.
    2. Did I mention that Libby was also the one who invited me to join the writing group she was starting. We met this week, and although we did no writing, the companionship and conversation was just what I needed.
    3. William’s letter to Santa, which began “I’ve been a good boy. Please bring me as many presents as possible.” It was accompanied by three pages of pictures glued from magazines with little notes attached. I had to put it in a 9×12 manila envelope.This little gem took all week to write and was cut down from 12 pages. Just watching him carry it to the mailbox made me smile.
    4. Watching The Station Agent on Friday night.
    5. Finding out that my older brother stole my copy of Faeries of Dreadmark! He told me once he arrived back home in NY. Apparently he started it at my house and was so engrossed he couldn’t put it down. I may never see it again, but am thrilled he found it as amazing as I did.
    That’s all. I hope everyone has a terrific week.

  22. As usual, I love reading everyone’s lists (although Liz and Tricia–I’m sorry for the bad stuff!)

    I don’t have anything interesting to say, really, except:

    1. I got a lot of work carp crossed off my list. Still have a lot more, though. This semester has kicked my a**. I’m hoping the next one will find me in a better rhythm.
    2. Good Forest coming out tomorrow. Light-hearted fun everywhere.
    3. Reading Melanie Watt’s Chester with my son tonight. I read Melanie’s part and he read the (bad) cat Chester’s part.

    Okay, I have a stack of exams to read. Thanks, everyone! Here’s to a good week this week!!

  23. Eisha and Jules, the drink is called Amer Kaatje.I don’t even like eggnog so I admit I’m still eyeing the bottle with suspicion. But it’s thicker so you apparently eat it with a spoon, and anything that gives me an excuse to buy ice-cream has to be good, right?

  24. Hmm, so it sounds like an alcoholic egg custard? I dunno, Emmaco – maybe just eat the ice cream and save that stuff for a holiday game of truth-or-dare.

    I missed a bunch of these yesterday – but it’s nice to read all about your weeks today. I’m sorry for Adrienne and Tricia and Liz having somewhat sucky weeks, but glad you could still find some kicks here and there.

  25. Eisha, you can find out more about the Missa Luba here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missa_Luba
    and here: http://www.amazon.com/Missa-Luba-African-Guido-Haazen/dp/B00000412X
    We recorded it, too, so maybe we can share soon!

  26. Tricia, I hope this week is better for you, too.

    Jules, My birthday is December 11, next week. I will eat ice cream cake. This is very important–so important that last year *THREE* different people bought me ice cream cakes on my b-day. I can only hope that happens again.

  27. […] {Pictured below.} And Dotty, which is my next picture book and which is gorgeously illustrated by Julia Denos, comes out Fall 2010 from Abrams. I have other books in the pipeline as well, plus Henry and I are […]

  28. […] delight” would be a good description of my very first response to her art work, years ago, when I first discovered it. Just don’t call her illustrations “cute”; as […]

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