7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #165: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Liz Chernov

h1 May 2nd, 2010 by jules

Today, on this first Sunday of the month when I tend to shine the spotlight on those illustrators new to the field, I welcome up-and-coming freelance illustrator, Liz Chernov, who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. I like the image above. Don’t you? I want to know more about that dynamic dog-and-girl duo. Let’s get right to it, since Liz is here to share some art, as well as tell us all about herself and her plans:

* * * * * * *

I became interested in illustration at about seven years old, growing up in Queens, New York. My brothers were admirers of graffiti and comic book art, and being the youngest of six children and sort of a tomboy, I began to take interest in it myself. I’d sit at the kitchen table, watching my brothers lettering with Prismacolor markers, and sometimes they’d teach me a thing or two. Whether it be ‘Bubble-letters,’ or ‘Wild-style,’ I found myself pulled in by the energy of the drawings.

Inevitably, my tastes changed as I began reading Shakespeare’s plays and books by Jane Austen, Frances Hodgson Burnett, C.S. Lewis, Charles Dickens, and the Brontë sisters. As with all great literature, they made my imagination soar.

Asleep in the Woods

I’ve been drawing (and teaching art sporadically) for over ten years, but just recently decided to create a body of work for publication as an illustrator at the end of 2009.

I find that artists like Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen, Dave McKean, Brian and Wendy Froud, and Jim Henson are great inspirations for my work. I am also inspired by turn-of-the-century objects, keys, cogs, wrought iron gates , random things that all seemed to be carefully made in a somewhat flamboyant way.

Her Gilded Cage
(Click to enlarge.)

In my own illustration, I use acrylic on paper. I paint thin layers, allowing the luminosity of the paper to come through a bit. My work is basically classic illustration. I’d like to think that I’m following in the footsteps of artists like Rackham but giving it my own spin.

I live in a coastal New England town, and aside from illustrating, I enjoy walking the beach with my husband and looking at the various wonders that nature can wash ashore, such as bleached wood, sea glass, and huge hollow pieces of driftwood. I also enjoy playing with my dog, Crowley Bean, and spending time with my very large family.

Closet Monster Hunting
(Click to enlarge.)

I decided to become an illustrator, because I didn’t have the fortitude to work in an office full-time or function in the ‘real’ world. I remember going to see Cirque du Soleil and thinking, ‘I wonder what the world would be like if it looked and behaved like this.’ I suppose it could go either way: it could be an absolute madhouse, or it could be an amazing adventure. I, for one, wouldn’t mind giving it a try. I guess that is why I illustrate: it’s my way of conjuring that madhouse/adventure.

An Unbelievable Snow Day
(Click to enlarge.)

Currently, I am juggling three book projects of my own, which I will submit for publication once they are complete: Priscilla, about the seemingly talentless daughter of the stupendous trapeze artists ‘The Flying Pimms’; The Search for Closet Monsters, in which a little girl moves to a new town only to find herself shunned by her classmates when she shares her love of mythical creatures; and finally, I am working on an ABC book, the contents of which are top-secret right now, but please keep checking my website, and it will eventually reveal itself.

What’s special about illustrating to me is the story. I know that seems obvious for an illustrator, but what keeps me excited about art and life is a good story. Through my work, I endeavor to learn the craftsmanship of being a good visual storyteller.


Liz’s work space

There is more art, as well as more sketches, at Liz’s site, as she’s mentioned, so be sure to check it out if you like what you see here. Best of luck to her, and now we know where to find her in cyberspace in order to keep in touch/follow her career.

* * * * * * *

As a reminder, 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 folks are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

Great news, everyone: As I’m typing this, I got notification on the Kidlitosphere listserv that regular kicker, Jone—whose job, as you know, was in jeopardy (she’s mentioned it here for the past couple of Sundays)—not only found out that she gets to keep her full-time library position, but also that she was awarded the Altrusa Library Service Award! This is such great news, and congratulations, Jone! (Here’s more info that I found on her blog.)

Okay, my kicks, though that really is the best one of all:

1). Today’s featured illustrator told me the nicest things about what 7-Imp has meant to her over the years, especially when she was taking steps toward becoming a full-time illustrator. And that meant a lot to me.

2). This Dorothea Lange quote (from this NPR interview with her biographer): “A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.” I not only love that, but I thought of Jeremy when I heard it.

3). Speaking of NPR, The New Pornographers’ new CD is streaming at NPR until its release on May 4th.

4). On Wednesday of this week, I got to see a good friend and her wee adorable boy and FINALLY visit East Nashville’s own children’s bookshop.

5). Jeannine Atkins pays attention well and is a thoughtful observer of this world, though I know you all already know that. She remembered that my girls and I had posted pics of new-found robins’ eggs in our yard, and she sent the book pictured here, along with a few other surprises.

6). Chatting with Eisha on instant-messenger. A good distraction from writing.

7). I am now the proud owner of a limited-edition hand-crafted book from artists Scott Teplin and Mark Wagner. It is very funny, very clever, very entertaining, and handsomely-made. It’s called Fortune. My favorite page—the most warped, sick-humored one, of course—is pictured below. (The book also includes the fortune-cookie fortune, “Help! I’m trapped in a fortune cookie factory and can’t find my way out!”)

7½). Scott Teplin’s driver’s license photo is STILL MAKING ME LAUGH.

(From Scott’s and Mark’s book; click to enlarge.)

BONUS: As I type this, I’m making plans to see a good friend tonight, have some yummy pizza, and down a bottle of Shiraz with her help. UPDATE: The heavens have opened up, and middle Tennessee is getting flooded with water, blatantly disregarding my weekend plans. But I’m glad everyone I know and love is okay. ‘Cause, whew, it’s pretty bad here.

Another bonus: This triptych my four-year-old made in her art class:

What are YOUR kicks this week?

26 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #165: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Liz Chernov”

  1. Hi there, Liz! Three cheers for those who chase their dreams.

    Congratulations, Jone! Oh, that’s fantastic!

    Jules: Glad that you had a good visit. Cheep cheep to the robins and hola to eisha. How many times do I write a comment about cats here? As often as you post something containing a picture of cats. So now, I must say again: CAT!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Vocal rehearsal for my duet & solo in one of the new musicals (with many thanks to the other actor and to the composer for their kind words)
    2) Rehearsal for the other musical
    3) Doing the right thing
    4) Feeling happy
    5) Argyle knee-highs
    6) Watching David Tennant as Hamlet
    7) Happy memories overshadowing the sad

  2. Thanks for the introduction to Miss Chernov. I am intrigued by the ‘Priscilla’ sketch. And love the idea of a world per Cirque du Soleil.

    Jules, ‘Fortune’ has indeed smiled upon you (very cool book to own.) Hope you and yours rode out the deluge in Tennessee safe and dry. (Hey, what is the kitty in your daughter’s very colorful triptych doing exactly? Looks a lot like “the pee-pee dance” to me. Ha!)

    My kicks:
    1. early to post here. (!)
    2. listening to teachers in my family talk passionately, fondly, about their students.
    3. the joke in “How to Teach Your Dragon” about Hiccup’s Mom’s half-a-breast-plate turned Viking helmet. ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
    4. movie popcorn w/junior mints sprinkled on top
    5. Rediscovered a fave poem (“Intro to Poetry” by B. Collins) and printed it out for my bulletin board. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=176056
    6. my cat, Zeek, when he’s in ‘attack mode’.
    7. noticed a new easier-to-reach electrical outlet for my laptop in a cafe where I like to write. (I know that sounds like a small thing in the universe, but it truly made my day.)

    Have a wonderful week everyone.

  3. P.S.
    Little Willow passed your post while typing. Vicariously enjoy your rehearsal stories. Break a leg.

    3. correction: make that “How to TRAIN Your Dragon.”

  4. Yay, Jone! SO well-deserved.

    I love that Dorothea Lange quote. And NPR.

    My kicks:

    I ate outside three meals in a row this weekend. (Obviously, the deluge you’re getting is not here.) One of those meals involved a kettle of mussels with Thai coconut sauce. mmmmmmm.

    My husband installed a bike rack hitch on our car, which means we can start biking farther afield. I was going to help him at the Auto Hobby Shop on base, but it turns out you have to wear *long* pants. So I read my books for the KIdLit book club today instead—all non-fiction, all about the U.S. space program. What I learned: I know nothing! Nothing! Why is it that great non-fiction makes you realize that (in a good way)?

    Did I tell you that I get to speak about military families at NCTE this year in Orlando? I do! With two other fabulous authors.

  5. Hip Hip Hooray for Jone!! Congratulations!! Great way to start a Sunday and a new month.

    Thanks for featuring Liz today. I’m excited about her alphabet book :)! So sweet of Jeannine to send the robin book. That cat looks alarmed — like he was caught doing something bad . . .

    Hi LW! I love argyle knee socks, and your interview with Meg Cabot :).

    Denise, I must try Junior Mints with my popcorn sometime.

    Congrats on the NCTE speaking gig, Sara! I’ve never had mussels. I keep thinking of rubber bands. 🙂

    A few kicks:

    We have a bird’s nest on the porch again. We avoid using the front door so as not to disturb.

    Saw “Gigi” last night. Told Len we must plan a trip to Paris.

    Warm “nan” from Wegman’s.

    alphabet soup was Book Blog of the Month in the first issue of the 4:00 Book Hook newsletter. Subscribe, everyone!

    National Poetry Month was a huge kick this year. I managed to get all my posts up despite lots of LJ slow-downs and glitches in early April. Plus, what a pleasure to work with everyone!

    Dinner in Georgetown tonight!

    Happy May!!

  6. I really like Liz’s arcrylic paintings but those sepia ones are gorgeous; haunting and mysterious. Will need to travel to her website later.
    Jules, thank you for the shout out and links. Altrusa does a lot in our community and especially for libraries so it is such an honor to receive the award. Your daughter’s triptych is a kick.
    LW, love argyle socks. How fun.
    Denise, I must go see HTTYD.
    Sara, how fumn to be a speaker at NCTE
    Jama, ‘Gigi” is the earliest memory of a movie I have. Now I have go and rent it because that was too long ago.

    The events of this week makes for 7 kicks wrapped into one. The news of the libraries was fantastic(although they say the program will look different and I am not sure what that means, Am writing the superintendent today about that). The award was the icing on the cake. Made sweeter because my unsung hero, my assistant, also a nominee was there along with our really good friend from school.
    The other big kick was the student’s eyes looking at the “big check” and beign able to tell them it is for the library.
    Have a great week.

  7. I’m looking forward to those books Liz is talking about.

    I am so glad to hear this news about Jone! I just got my poetry postcard from one of her students in the mail on Friday. It was absolutely a highlight of my week, and just one example of how Jone puts her all into what she does.

    Jules, Ada’s triptych is The Best.

    Little Willow, Yay to being happy!

    Denise, Everyone looks at me like I’m a nutcase when I talk about how amazing it is to sprinkle candy on top of movie popcorn, but, yes, it’s amazing, isn’t it? One of the many good reasons to go see a movie in the theater.

    Sara, I love riding around on my bike! And going farther afield sounds like fun.

    Jama, I’ve had birds nesting on my front porch for years now–they either go for one of my hanging baskets or the clematis. It never occurred to me to avoid the front porch while they’re there. We wind up having the most spirited discussions, what with the mama bird CHEEP, CHEEP, CHEEPING at me, and me dashing along saying, “Sorry, sorry, I’m hurrying, I’m hurrying.”

    My kicks are all wrapped up in SPRING. I love being able to spend quality time outdoors again, and I am anticipating fresh asparagus this next week, and then the first lettuces not too many weeks after that, and then more fresh veggies and fruits by the week. Yay and yay and yay.

  8. Beautiful work this week!

    1. Starting a dream-of-a-lifetime project for a UK publisher. Can’t wait to share details with you all.
    2. Talking with one the world’s best literary agents on Thursday about one of my favorite topics.
    3. Celebrating the end of National Poetry Month with an essay on David L. Harrison’s blog:
    4. Watching the movie version of the CATS musical with my four-year-old daughter. She loves it!
    5. Setting up a screening of LIBRARY OF THE EARLY MIND at Harvard University for the fall — details coming soon: http://childrenslitproject.wordpress.com/
    6. Dandelions, dandelions everywhere (pollen too)!
    7. And this little nonsense poem:

    By Steven Withrow

    Children chugging chicken broth
    And bears imbibing beers
    Roosters ringing telephones
    And tigers tugging tears
    Rat snakes riding roadrunners
    And beetles breaking bones
    For all the sense it makes to me
    When toads turn into stones

  9. Starting with Liz Chernov’s image showing how a girl and her dog can go anywhere, and her statement of how her great reading list changed her vision, this is such a happy edition of the Sunday morning news — as long as you and your loved ones stay dry enough, Jules. What wonderful news from Jone! It is a true kick to hear about the children’s eyes widening at the check for the library.

    Jama, yay for your blog in the spotlight, as it brings so much pleasure. Little Willow, love all the happy rehearsals. Sara, that’s so great you’ll be talking at NCTE. Denise, I liked the outlet kick: can totally relate. One prefers not to crawl under chairs with power cords.

    A good week for me all in all, but papers to grade and sun to walk under. So my main kick is a healthy baby boy, Matteo, born to my yoga teacher on Wednesday: I love getting to see the pictures on facebook! And, as Adrienne reminds us, it’s spring!

  10. Hurrah for Jone! I’m so glad that’s worked out, and that her good work is being recognized. What a fun triptych, too.

    My family attended the May Fair at my daughter’s school yesterday. As this is her third year of kindergarten, this is my daughter’s last year dancing the May Pole dance (unless she stays at the school, when she will dance a more complex version in fourth grade). It was a bit bittersweet, as it was the best May Fair to date, but we still don’t know whether or not she will attend next year.

    I was also a Pocket Person, too. I had on oversized trousers and a vest with many pockets stuffed with treasures. Children got to pick my pockets as long as they gave me a ticket first. It’s the closest I’ll ever come to donning the garb of a clown.

  11. Little Willow, glad you had a good week. I like it when you talk about cats.

    Denise, yes, the cat looks as if he needs a litter box. Glad you found that outlet. The floods are so bad in middle Tennessee that, when I tried to connect online at a local Starbucks (since our cable connection went out) last night, it was closed. I’m sitting here watching footage on television of all the flooding, and it’s just very sad. We’re lucky to be okay. But I digress.

    Sara, you and NCTE! WOOT! Lucky them!

    Jama, Book Blog of the Month! Congrats. Your blog always rock, but it particularly rocked in April. Enjoy your dinner tonight.

    Jone, yay for your assistant, and congrats again to you. I love your story about showing the kids the check. I got one of your student’s postcards just the other day, Jone, and it was great.

    Adrienne, are your growing those veggies yourself, or are you picking them up?

    Steven, looking forward to hearing about the UK project. Thanks for the link to the essay, and—as always—I look forward to the documentary.

    Jeannine, yes, we’re dry. But it’s pretty grim for lots of folks. So sad.

  12. Farida, passed you in cyberspace. So glad you all enjoyed the May Fair. What a great tradition.

  13. p.s. Thanks for sharing the poem, Steven.

  14. I am glad the postcards are arriving. They were sent in batches and delayed a bit.

  15. Thanks, Denise!

    Sara: Knock their socks off at NCTE!

    Jama: Congrats on being named Book Blog of the Month! Thanks for watching the Meg Cabot video interview. I have a great fondness for argyle.

    Jone: I am so, so happy for you.

    Adrienne: From THE MIKADO: “For if A is happy, oh so happy…” Enjoy the spring!

    Steven: Thanks for sharing your poetry. Best wishes with your new project. Hurrah for sharing a musical with your daughter. (Go, Harry Groener!)

    Jeannine: Happy birthday to the little guy!

    Farida: That sounds like fun.

    Jules: Twist my arm to talk about cats – especially since the 30th was a sad anniversary for one of them.

  16. I wish I had time to respond to everyone’s wonderful kicks (I am, while typing this, supposed to be typing a seminar paper on Poe instead. That will be our secret). As usual, how happy it makes me that so many good things are happening in the world, especially with jobs and weather safety.

    Three mini-kicks:
    1. Had the best sweet tea of my life today. DELICIOUS. It was like drinking rainbows and unicorns, but in a non-creepy way.

    2. Read small bits of “Dear Genius” between required texts. Books of letters are always engaging; Ursula Nordstrom’s letters are out of this world.

    3. Visited a small town nearby and drank lemonade while walking under boughs of honeysuckle. It was terrifically spring-like. And I didn’t think about Poe once.

    Wishing everyone a sensational (and safe) week!

  17. Thrilled, thrilled, thrilled with Jone’s news!

    Stopping in for a very quick visit. My grades are due by 9 am on Tuesday morning and it looks like I won’t be getting any sleep until well after that time. (Seriously, I still pull at least one all-nighter a semester!) Here my short list of kicks.

    1. Being invited to Jama’s potluck. Her post made me look good!
    2.National poetry month was great fun. Last year I had more than 15,900 visitors. This year it was over 18,600. I’m really happy so many people stopped by.
    3. Arts in the Park today, despite the 90+ degree heat and humidity, was fabulous.

    have a great week all!

  18. Oh, I love love love that first illustration of the girl and her dog! And An Unbelievable Snow Day. Wonderful!

    CONGRATS JONE!!! That is so awesome!

    LW – I adore your video on Hollywood Blvd! Especially the interaction with random guys – too funny!

    Jules – That Dorothea Lange quote is awesome. As is your daugherter’s triptych. Glad you and yours are dry and safe.

    Denise – movie popcorn w/ junior mints sounds yummy. My variation is with peanut m&m’s.

    Sara – hooray for biing farther afield!

    Jama – Congrats on Book Blog of the Month!

    Adrienne – yay for spring! It is teasing us here in the PNW. Can’t wait for it to be here in earnest.

    Steven – congrats on your new project!

    Farida – hooray for May Pole dances!

    Tricia – Congrats on a successful National poetry month!

    My kicks this week:

    1. Currently reading Slam, by Nick Hornby.
    2. Watched The Legend of 1900 this weekend. Interesting story, and definitely worth watching if you’re in the mood for a slower paced film.
    3. Dinner with a good friend last night at a new Indian restaurant, yummy!
    4. 2 hour hike with another friend and a borrowed dog today.
    5. FB interaction with my favorite 14 year old this weekend.
    6. Got my poetry postcard yesterday! Love it! I am putting on my bulletin board in my office.
    7. Do-It-Yourself Spa Night.

    Have a great week!

  19. Julie: Good luck with your seminar paper! I like the rainbows-and-unicorns description. I love honeysuckle.

    Tricia: I hope you get some rest, and that your students are alert, aware, and appreciative.

    Rachel (rm): Thank you! That was a surprise — I haven’t even blogged it yet! Did you see it at readergirlz?

  20. LW – yup! saw it at readergirlz!

    And Sar, it was supposed to be biking farther afield!

  21. Thanks for the kick-note Jules. Still learning to see…

    Great kicks, as usual. It’s a homey soup of thankfulness over here.

  22. Hi All,

    Just wanted to thank you for your kind comments regarding my work. As I’ve expressed to Jules it was an honor to be featured on ‘Seven Imp’!

    Warmest regards,

  23. Little Willow, bummer. Sorry you had a sad anniversary. I’m sending belated hugs to you.

    Julie, I love Dear Genius and find it helpful to re-read every now and then. And what was your great, kickin’ tea? Inquiring minds wanna know.

    Tricia, good luck with grading and your blog, like Jama’s, was a great place to be this month.

    RM, what a good week. Indian cuisine is my favorite, too. I’m jealous of your spa night, too.

    Jeremy, how much do I love a “homey soup of thankfulness”? A lot.

    Liz, thank you for being here! Please keep in touch with us and stop by again one day.

  24. So sorry I missed kickin’ with y’all yesterday. Numerous forces combined to keep me away from the PC most of the day.

    Love Liz Chernov’s work, especially “Asleep in the Woods” and “Her Gilded Cage”!

    And, as every week, I love-love-LOVE reading everybody’s lists o’ kicks.

    My own top kick, and no kidding: learning that you, Jules, and your family are safe. It sounds like the last couple days have been end-of-the-world ones for the Nashville area!

    Rapid-fire other kicks:

    * Annual Derby-Day festivities on Saturday (and the inevitable collapse of all willpower Sunday, one of the aforementioned forces).

    * Continued smooth Pooch knee-surgery recovery.

    * Funny blog post about text-message shortcuts.

    * Jeans. Gawd do I love jeans.

    * Natalie Merchant’s newest CD. (I know, it was also on last week’s list. It’s at least two weeks’ good, though.)

    * The way everybody agrees that Object X is yellow, or green, or blue, or whatever… but no one has any idea what anyone else really SEES when they see yellow, or green, or….

  25. Thanks, Jules.

    Thanks, Rachel (rm)! I posted it at my blog this morning.

  26. John, thanks! We are lucky to have a dry home.

    Glad the Pooch is still okay. And that you’re still enjoying Natalie’s CD. Still haven’t heard it. Doh!

    Now, that blog post is not only funny, but just the other day, Eisha pointed me to that blog. Looks like I’ll have to make a habit of reading it.

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