Welcome, everyone, to this week’s Kicks post. And welcome to John Hendrix, our featured illustrator for this week. If you’ve been following the Cybils nominations, or if you just happen to like good picture books, you may have already encountered his work in Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale (Introducing His Forgotten Frontier Friend) by Deborah Hopkinson (Schwartz & Wade Books, September 2008), which has made it into the list of finalists for the Fiction Picture Books category this year. If you haven’t read it, check out the image above and the two below for a sneak preview.
Doesn’t seeing young Lincoln up there, being all heroic and brave and stuff, make you feel a little patriotic? Doesn’t it fit in nicely with this week’s inauguration awesomeness? We thought so too.
But he doesn’t just do book stuff. He’s got quite the varied resume… Wait, why don’t we just let him tell you:
John Hendrix loves to draw. In fact, he is drawing right now. Born in St. Louis, John has been drawing since shortly after that moment. After years of wasting money on comic books, John discovered that one might be able to draw pictures for a living. John attended The University of Kansas to study graphic design and illustration. Rock Chalk Jayhawk. After working for a few years as a designer, John moved from Kansas to New York City to become a famous artist. There, John attended The School of Visual Arts in the graduate “Illustration as Visual Essay” program and graduated in May 2003 with honors and debt. During his time illustrating in New York, John also taught at Parsons School of Design and worked at The New York Times as Assistant Art Director of the Op-Ed page for several years.
John’s work has appeared in such publications as Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Esquire, The New York Times, and Nickelodeon among many others. He has also drawn for many book jackets for the likes of Random House, Harper Collins, Greenwillow Books, Knopf, Penguin and St. Martin’s Press. His images also appeared in advertising for ESPN/ABC, The NBA and John’s work has won numerous awards, including the Society of Illustrator’s Silver Medal in 2006 and 2008 and the SILA Silver Best of Show Award. Many of his drawings have also appeared in the award publications American Illustration, Society of Illustrators, Society for Publication Design and Communication Arts. John was recently featured in Taschen’s published survey of the top 150 contemporary illustrators in the world, “Illustration Now!” in stores nationwide. In 2009, one of his drawings will appear in the book “Images & Icons, 50 Years of Illustration,” a survey of the best images over the last half-century. In addition to his editorial drawings and picture books, John is teaching undergraduate illustration at Washington University. He lives in St. Louis with his beautiful bride Andrea and spunky son Jack.
(Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em)
We thank John tremendously for dropping by, and for sharing his fab, fun art with us. We also congratulate him on the recent addition to his family - daughter Anneli. Also: TEN POUNDS?!? Dang. Let’s all share a moment of silence for John’s wife Andrea…
Whew. Okay, you can unclench your legs now. How ’bout we move on to some Kicks? No, not that kind…
For anyone new, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is our 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. Absolutely anyone, of course, is welcome to list kicks — even if, or especially if, you’ve never done so before.
Two picture book spreads from ABE LINCOLN CROSSES A CREEK by Deborah Hopkinson, illustration © 2008 by John Hendrix, posted by permission of Random House. All rights reserved.
1* Well, obviously, the inauguration is Kick-o Numero Uno. Our director let us close our division for an hour or so while we watched it in the lecture room. A bunch of people brought brownies and cookies and such, and the whole day felt celebratory. And pretty much every day since has had a surreal tinge of “Really? This is actually happening? We really get to have a smart president who cares about important stuff? I didn’t just dream it?” to it.
Really, I don’t need any other kicks this week. How ’bout you, Jules?
1). The inauguration this week. !! I know that Obama is not perfect. We should not expect that of our leaders. But to have him now—because we chose hope over fear, as this headline reminds us— in what Anna Quindlen called “a time of civic darkness” (thanks to one of our readers, Elise, for pointing us to that link this past Friday) is to me a glorious thing. The inauguration made the week just beautiful and damn-near glowing. And I kept thinking this week how happy I am that I happen to be alive now in 2009 to witness this all.
Here’s what made me cry the second-hardest: In his inauguration speech, he said, “For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth…” When he mentioned Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and non-believers, I nearly wept — particularly, “and non-believers.” I could not BELIEVE our PRESIDENT was uttering those words. I have such friends—whether agnostic or atheist or secular humanist or what-have-you, right alongside my Southern Baptist and Zen Buddhist friends as well—who are as good as good can be. (If you live in the South, you absolutely MUST point out—seriously, no sarcasm intended—that someone who is not a Christian can also be a good, well-intentioned, kind-hearted person.) And now I venture to say that they feel a bit more welcomed. Someone somewhere—I believe a speaker at the church service Obama attended the morning after the inauguration—spoke of the “harmonies of liberties” he will usher in. AMEN. It’s about time.
2). The festive, celebratory, flag-colored cupcakes we had this week. They were yummy, but I also used them to flat-out bribe my wee girls to be quiet during Obama’s speech.
3). The sign name the Deaf community created for Obama and how they chose it. I’m sorry, that’s just a seriously COOL sign name:
5). This tee shirt my friend’s baby was wearing.
6). Reading even more of the weird (that’s a compliment) and wonderful fairy tales of old Russia with my girls in Old Peter’s Russian Tales, which Farida recommended, since she piqued our interest in this story.
7). A surprise from illustrator LeUyen Pham in the mail, including her teeny-tiny, 3½-inch book on 2009, the Year of the Ox.
BONUSES: Getting renewed focus on a library project for work; finally doing the Netflix thing and FINALLY finishing Season Five of “The Sopranos”; and finally getting interview questions off to illustrator Ed Young in the mail. Can’t do that interview via email or phone—which is not at all his fault—so I’m doing it the old-fashioned way. It has presented its challenges, but it’s ED YOUNG! Getting interview responses from him will be MORE than worth the effort! …See how many “finally”s in this paragraph. Maybe I made some progress this week after all…
What are your kicks this week? I have sick, feverish, coughing-up-lungs little girls, as of the tail end of this week, so I’m behind on reading your blog…Do tell.