7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #222: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Rachel Levit

h1 June 5th, 2011 by jules

Dude. What is that poor child going to do? That ginormous creature is hungry. I don’t know the answer, but perhaps one day we’ll see them in a picture book. It’s the first Sunday of the month, and that means I shine the spotlight today on a student or brand-new illustrator. Today I welcome a student. Her name is Rachel Levit, and here she is to tell you more about her work and how she hopes to make picture books one day (thereby increasing our chances of discovering the fate of the ice cream cone).

* * *

“My name is Rachel Levit, and I am currently studying illustration at Parsons in New York. I come from Mexico City, and it was also my dream to study art abroad. I am lucky enough to be pursuing such a creative career; it combines everything I love: drawing, designing, storytelling and more.

This last year, I really got into children’s books. I am inspired by artists such as Gustave Doré, Anthony Browne, Tove Jansson, Hilary Knight, François Roca, amongst others. Books are very important to me, and I definitely hope I’ll be making many of them throughout my career.

I keep hearing how competitive and scarce the editorial world has become, especially in the children’s book field. But, I think that at the same time the internet has become a hub for illustrators and artists sharing their work freely, and that can be exciting too. It’s like a community.

Anyway, I have one year left to graduate, and I’m excited for the future! For now you can take a look at my blog, where I post things related to my work.”

This is Frederick, the character of Little Mister, a children’s book Rachel wrote this semester. “I made him out of sculpey,” she writes at her blog, “so that I could draw him from various angles. Fred doesn’t like being a kid so he dresses and acts like an adult. Cheer up Fred!”


“On the weekends, he would go with his grandpa to the barbershop to get a trim.”

Here is an image from one of Rachel’s zines, The Hat:


Big thanks to Rachel for visiting 7-Imp this morning. She has a bit of a Lauren-Castillo-meets-Marie-Hall-Ets vibe goin’ on. Best of luck to her in her career.

All images are copyright © 2011 by Rachel Levit and reproduced with her permission.

* * * * * * *

Note for any new readers: 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.

* * * * * * *

1) I like Rachel’s wee story called The Hat, even if it’s sad.

(P.S. To quote the omnipresent mid-’90s bumper sticker, mean people suck. Especially ones who laugh at really cool hats from your mama.)

2) See how up above Rachel referenced illustrator François Roca? I found this online. I don’t know what the hell he’s saying, though I took high school French, but a) I like hearing French and b) I like looking at his art.

3) I’m enjoying the time with my girls this summer. I like relaxed schedules that allow for easier lounging around and cuddling up and reading with them. (Wouldn’t be able to do that without a job I can do from home, for which I am at-all-times extremely grateful.) My youngest will go off to Kindergarten this Fall. I think we’ll both be sniffly and misty-eyed about it.

4) In my interview this week with the talented John Rocco, he mentioned watching a documentary called Marwencol. I added it to the ‘ol Netflix queueueueueue and watched it this week. Really fascinating film. (Thanks, John.)

5) I love this image from illustrator Amy June Bates.

6) A beautiful but confused robin came tearin’ through the sky this week (probably chasing a %&*!%# cicada) and face-planted herself right into the front door of my home. She didn’t make it. My daughters (and their visiting friend) and I stood there in utter confusion for a moment and watched her take her last breath on our front porch. We buried her in the back yard and all said something nice about birds. The kick? My Facebook buddies (note: This is one great thing about Facebook), many of them children’s book authors or poets themselves, all zippy-quick came to my aid with children’s poems about robins I could read at the poor creature’s impromptu funeral.

7) I like this song from Agnes Obel. Because I like piano. A lot. Thanks to Dan Santat for the tip.

I also like this backstage footage of Nicole Atkins harmonizing with The Avett Brothers:

BONUS: This gift from Eisha showed up in my mailbox this week. (Danger: Do not click on that link if you are not fond of big juicy curse words.)

Quick Note: Did you all see the announcement of the nominees for the Hans Christian Andersen Awards 2012? The info is here.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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24 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #222: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Rachel Levit”

  1. Rachel, I really love Fred, the kid who acts like / wants to be an adult!

    Jules, YOUR YOUNGEST IS STARTING SCHOOL IN THE FALL? What the? Where does all the time GO? I’m glad you are having such a lovely summer with both your girls. ♥ ♥ ♥

    Kicks:

    1. Wow, where do I even begin? I was a speaker and facilitator at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore. I was on a panel with PaperTigers, and got to hang out with the PaperTigers ladies every day! Every day! I love them so much. :o)

    2. Our panel discussion on the kidlitosphere got featured in a newspaper:

    http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=%2F2011%2F6%2F5%2Flifebookshelf%2F8826933&sec=lifebookshelf

    By the way, I talked about 7-Imp and our kickin’ Sundays during the panel. :o)

    3. The food in Singapore is absolutely fantastic. And the people there so beautiful. *swoons*

    4. I had lunch with Suzy Lee. She was so humble, down to earth, and soft spoken!

    5. I had dinner with Yangsook Choi. She sparkles in so many ways!

    6. I attended a lecture by José Ramos-Horta, the president of East Timor, who is also a Nobel Peace Prize winner AND a children’s book author. I had to scrape my jaw off the floor.

    7. Remember when Luis Soriano was featured in The New York Times in 2008?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/20/world/americas/20iht-20burro.17088328.html?scp=1&sq=Luis+Soriano+donkeys&st=cse

    He uses donkeys to carry books to poor children in Colombia. He was at the festival too and I got to hear him speak!

    I almost cried on the way home from Singapore; I didn’t want to leave. :o(


  2. Tanita! I met Yat-Yee at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore! =D Sarah told me that you are all part of the same writing group?


  3. OH, my word. How much do I love Rachel’s little Sculpey doll man action figure dude!?!? LOVE.
    At that little had… oh, mean people DO suck. What an awesome hat to leave behind. 🙁

    I am STILL reeling over Marwencol. WOW.
    Thanks, as always, for sharing such awesome music and …stuff. My kick is that Tech Boy is on the mend from his long and draining illness (for which there is apparently no real name except “Oops, your liver has pooped out).

    That kick is going to carry me for the next six months.


  4. TARIE!!!!!!! YES, Yat Yee is in my writing group, as is Sarah, and I wish very much we’d ALL gotten over there to meet you.


  5. Tarie, where do I even begin? You are a SUPERSTAH, but then we already knew that. Congrats on the panel! (And blushing here that you mentioned 7-Imp.) SUZY LEE! And, well, EVERYONE ELSE! Luis Soriano is a rockstar too. Truly. This is my favorite part of the newspaper article:

    I loved Tarie’s face when she described how she was looking, in vain, for a blog that specialised in Asian literature for young readers several years ago when it dawned on her that it was up to her to start one.

    Tanita, so glad Tech Boy feels better. That went on way too long. Maybe you all should give that illness a name — just for fun. Okay, not really fun, but you know what I mean. Oh, and have you seen Marwencol or are you just reeling from the trailer? It is FASCINATING.


  6. Rachel, both the boy who didn’t want to be a kid and the The Hat are wonderful. I could see them both in a library.
    Jules, I love Eisha’s gift to you. And little one in kender next year? It can’t be.
    Tarie, congrats on all the festivities at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content. What a time.
    Tanita, so glad Tech Boy is better.
    1. I think I can safely say that I will be in the library next year. WOOT. There are still issues to be worked out.
    2. 48 Hr. Reading Challenge. 6th year. And I have 11 hours read as I hope to read 20. I am reading in memory of Bridget and will be donating money to Friends of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center. I even have a couple of pledges! Woot!
    3. The weather. I read outside yesterday. First time this year.
    4. Library books are returning! I am giving a away 50 books to 50 students who returned on time as we closed the school year out.
    5. My Lunch Bunch Book Club.
    6. My personal book club and our home made German meal yesterday.
    7. My aunt is hanging in there and hopeflully Iwill get to see her soon.
    Have a great week.


  7. Love Rachel’s art…and thanks for the great posts today, everyone!

    My kicks:
    1. Working on a new “Fieldnote” for 7-Imp!
    2. Reading THE LORAX to kids at the library
    3. Relocating a frog from the garage
    4. Looking forward to Philip Nel’s biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss
    5. Screening the film at SCBWI New Jersey
    6. Thankfully missing a tornado in Rhode Island (condolences to friends in Springfield and Brimfield)
    7. And finishing an odd new poem:

    An Admonition Against Egrets
    By Steven Withrow

    An egret is the perfect pet
    And yet
    I bet that you’ll regret
    An egret once you get one.

    You’ve never met a better pet.
    She’ll let
    You jet her to a vet
    (Of course, you’re set to net one).

    She struts her slender silhouette—
    No sweat
    As she wheels a pirouette—
    Though watch out when you pet one.

    An egret, she’s a fret, a threat,
    A debt
    That you won’t soon forget—
    But a wondrous white and wet one!

    ©2011 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved


  8. I adore The Hat and it makes me think of both Sophie Blackall and local yet-to-be-published letterpress artist and illustrator Julie Sola. Do you know her? If not, let me put her in touch with you. I know you would love her.

    Sorry to hear about Tech Boy, Tanita. Scary, I know. So glad things are looking up.

    Anyway, I have many kicks this week and I have never distilled them for you before, so let me give it a go.

    1. Central air conditioning. Dang, it’s hot in the South of this country.
    2. Having grow up children. Whether they are starting kindergarten or a PhD program, they continually delight. My son was home for a couple of weeks which allowed him to cook fabulous dinners every night and play nearly 30 games of Scrabble. I think the blisters from the 500 mile walk across Spain fully healed.
    3. Peach pie.
    4. The Zoku popsicle maker. (next time the girls are in Music City, we will have to concoct some together)
    5. Summer breaks from school. I love school, but I do love a break.
    6. The doctors at Dana Farber who made my sister’s life hell for 8 days post-surgery, but also saved her life. Yup, that whole genetically linked cancer thing in our family is pretty scary. Rest in peace, sweet Bridget.
    7. Local strawberries.


  9. Jone, VERY GREAT NEWS about your position. Whew. Scary the stories I hear about school library cuts anymore. Just wrong. Please keep us updated. Also: Reading in memory of Bridget = brilliant. And perfect. Good luck with the rest of your reading this weekend. One day, one day I wanna do that challenge. It’s just not easy with wee kids. …And continued good wishes to your aunt.

    Steven, my girls are all fascinated of late by The Lorax. I also look forward to Phil’s book. It’s going to be great. I have no doubt. ….Also, what is it like to see beautiful things in this world as poetry? I wish I had a brain like that.

    Robin! YES, Sophie Blackall. Excellent point. No, I don’t know Sola. Is she local? Somehow the name seems familiar, but I’m often wrong about stuff like that. … How wonderful that you had weeks with your son. Awesome. Also, yes, we will gladly experience anything called a Zoku popsicle maker with you. And oh my oh my oh my, my best to your sister. How terrifying, but so glad to hear she’s …. well, I guess healing is the word.


  10. Rachel – Love The Hat, and Little Mister Frederick. Also love the tree house image, especially the door in the tree. I lived in trees when I was a kid, and that would’ve totally fit the bill for a great tree house.

    Jules, glad you’re enjoying your summer with your girls, and I lurve the present you got from Esiha! The Agnes Obel song (and video) was cool, I’ll have to come back later to check the rest.

    Tarie! Congrats! You rock! (Thanks for that excerpt of the interview Jules, now I need to read the whole thing.)

    Tanita – happy that Tech Boy is on the mend. That is a wonderful kick.

    Jone – Hooray for being in the library next year! And hooray for Portland sunshine!

    Steven – glad you missed the tornado. Fun poem. I love the silhouette/pirouette stanza best.

    Robin – Peach pie. Yum. Healing wishes to your sister.

    My kicks this week:

    1) Sunshine! Portland summer seems to have finally arrived.
    2) A packed Saturday. Early training session, 6 mile run, gardening, & hanging on the porch with the dog.
    3) Engaging in retail therapy. (Found this summer’s perfect wedges.)
    4) Friday Night Lights. It’s the final season, and I will miss it when it’s done.
    5) Time to sit on the steps today with my coffee.
    6) Watched James L. Brooks’ movie “How Do You Know?” Not a perfect rom-com by a long-shot, but fun fluff after the wondrous intensity of the Fighter and The Hurt Locker. Owen Wilson’s narcissistic baseball player had me cracking up – he was great in the part, and he reminded me of one of my ex-boyfriends.
    7) Progress in the Ingrid-Ariel (Dog-Cat) relationship. As I’ve been typing at the dining room table with Ingrid at my feet, she started whining, but not moving. Looked up to see Ariel half ways across the living room decide to turn around and go back upstairs. No hissing from her, no chasing from Ingrid, while it’s slow progress, I’ll take it.

    Happy Sunday everyone! Have a great week!


  11. I love that treehouse!


  12. The Hat story is lovely; succinct and moving. I felt bad for the kid, the mom and, well… the hat too. Reminded me of the whole sad and amusing hat/clothing issue in the excellent movie “About A Boy”.
    http://icedteaandlemoncake.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/about_a_boy_2002_hugh_grant.jpg (I think it’s the same poor Hat actually.)

    Jules – I heard art house buzz about Marwencol but never saw it. Now it’s on my list. Eisha’s heartfelt coffee cup is too funny and somehow exactly right. That image will be making the rounds. Ha! Your liddle kiddle’s last summer before kindergarten? Time to get out all those great K books. (I’m partial to Portis’ “Kindergarten Diary”.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AND7XApMXm0
    Roca’s drawings are great. My high school French didn’t cut it either. My teacher, Madame Ray, would be très, très désappointé avec moi.

    Tarie – Each of your Festival kicks sounds so exciting.
    Tanita – no-name illnesses get no respect and that makes things harder still. Glad that your Tech Boy is doing well.
    Jone – Yea! for your school; it gets to keep precious YOU in its midst.
    Steven – “I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees!” I can picture you…
    Robin – “500 mile walk across Spain” stood out to me. Intriguing.
    Rachel – I read your entry and took my coffee out to my front steps!

    My kicks center around an especially nice event last week:
    My hubby and I took Tuesday off to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. Went to Catalina – where we were wed. No cars allowed on the island, just golf carts, so we putt-putted around hills and coves. Watched tourists zip-line across canyon gulches! Saw all the Catalina colored things: bright orange garibaldi fish, turquoise fishing pier, grey-green eucalyptus trees, lovely white Inn on Mt. Ada–where we stayed. And my husband proved he knows me after all these years: no jewelry or flowers or candy – instead the most wonderful BOOK I can imagine owning: A first edition of The Wind in the Willows. Sigh.


  13. Rachel, happy sunshine, and continued good luck with Ingrid and Ariel.

    Amy, right! So cool.

    Denise, happy belated anniversary, and WHAT A WONDERFUL GIFT. Oh, and good idea to round up all those kindergarten books. (And I have Kindergarten Diary and love it.) Summer’s so short that I could read a couple a week to her, and we’d be good-to-go before you know it. Also, the whole mug concept must have come from here (wow, by the way, to that), though I think I first saw it (the mug only, that is) linked from Laurel Snyder’s Facebook wall a while back. I think?? Last night, I stumbled upon the link where one can order the mug, but it was telling me it was an “unsafe” link, so I didn’t link to it. I don’t know *what* was going on there.


  14. p.s. I LOVE About a Boy. So so much. When he sings “Killing Me Softly” for his mother and everyone’s laughing at him and Hugh Grant’s character joins him on stage, I sob. I really do. It’s a beautiful scene.


  15. Hi, Rachel Levit! Best of luck with your art and your stories. I would stop and talk to that giant creature without any fear.

    Jules: Glad that your family is enjoying the summer.

    Tarie: Your week was kick-packed! Congrats on all counts.

    Tanita: Sending healthy vibes to Tech Boy. Poor thing! Hope he recovers quickly and completely.

    Jone: YAY JOB! Also, rock the reading challenge! I was too busy this weekend to participate. May you raise tons of funds in her memory. Sending good vibes to your aunt.

    Steven: I hope the new Lorax film is decent.

    Robin: Thinking good thoughts for your family.

    Rachel (rm): Have you seen Paul Rudd as Nick in The Great Gatsby? Great performance. And Reese in Wildflower. Glad that your pets are getting along a little better.

    Happy anniversary to Denise and her spouse!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Costume fitting for a short film, and meeting the cast
    2) First rehearsal for a play
    3) I sang in front of a live studio audience (something wholly unplanned and greatly enjoyed!)
    4) and 5) Booked and filmed another short film
    6) Assisting at a casting session
    7) Attending a friend’s wonderful performance. She is brilliant on clarinet.


  16. Jules,
    I cry through that scene too. Squirm and cry. I love when the Cool Black Girl whacks a kid in front of her when he starts to “Booo!”

    Oh, I just read the WLAMF-mug inspiration article. OMG what great advice. Even though its written to a young woman, I’m printing it out to give to my writer son. THANKS for that lead too.


  17. Thanks, everyone! =D

    During the panel I made sure to announce how 7-Imp is the best blog on picture book illustrations (Jules, Aline of PaperTigers agreed with me) and I made sure to talk about our family of kickers and how we all hope to hang out IRL one day.


  18. Little Willow, I hope one day I can hear you sing myself. In person. Congrats on the short films!

    Denise, the first time I saw that scene in a movie theatre, I thought I’d burst out weeping. The lights came up, and I just KNEW everyone else would be wiping their eyes. No one was. I HATE HATE HATE crying in front of people. (I don’t know why.) I was sort of stunned other people weren’t weeping and embarrassed that I was still crying. I just thought it was so moving.

    And, Denise, I love how frankly that Rumpus writer speaks to that melodramatic writer who wrote in with the question. Lordhavemercy, she needed that talkin’ to. She had a serious type of Sylvia Plath Syndrome going on.

    Tarie, AW SHUCKS. Thank you. And now I’m gonna cry, ’cause you called us a “family,” which, yes, we are.


  19. p.s. I GOTTA start that scholarship fund that gets us all together in one room for an Actual Breakfast one day. Sigh. Wouldn’t it be great? Maybe I’ll just strike it rich one day.


  20. Thanks for all the nice comments, in fact The Hat is inspired in About a Boy, so good call!


  21. Tarie, Jules: I wonder if we could set up a Sunday Skype video conference or conference call that let all of the kickers chat at once…

    Thanks, Jules!


  22. Video conference or conference call? I’M THERE.


  23. Ooo! Ooo! Intriguing! I wonder if it’d be a logistical nightmare. (Is “logistical” the word I want? It’s early and still pre-coffee.)

    We could do round-robins in which people TALK about in PERSON their kicks of the week!


  24. […] My Best Kick of All this week was when Tarie referred to us kickers last week (in a comment) as “our family of kickers.” For real, people. I got damn near misty-eyed. We are a […]


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