It’s the first Sunday of the month when I shine the spotlight on a student or debut illustrator, and this morning I bring you the latter.
Mississipian Sarah Frances Hardy will see her first picture book published this Spring. I haven’t seen a copy, but she’s here today to introduce herself and tell us a bit about it. And there’s even more information about her here at her site.
Without further ado, here’s Sarah Frances…
Sarah Frances: “Thank you so much for featuring me on your blog. It truly is an honor to be here!
I am an author/illustrator and my debut picture book, Puzzled By Pink, will be released by Viking Children’s Books on April 12th of this year. I am completely over-the-moon that this dream has come true for me and that in a few short weeks, I’ll be seeing my book on the shelves.
My journey into writing and illustrating for children began as a seed when I was a little girl, but it wasn’t until about seven years ago that I dug in my heels and truly began to seek publication. I told my friends and family what I was doing (thereby “coming out”), joined SCBWI, and started writing and drawing every day.
My first attempts—and there were many—needed tons of work, but I didn’t give up. I kept working, especially on my illustration technique, to make my artwork speak to children. Because I’d worked for years as a fine artist, showing my paintings in galleries, the shift was really, really hard.
Children’s illustrations are so different from landscape paintings! I found myself having to not only stick to the story presented in the words but to figure out how to tell a story through the illustrations themselves. That was one of the most important things that I had to figure out: Illustrations are about storytelling. They’re not simply there to present what is already stated in the words. (That would be boring, right?)
I also had to work on my style as an artist. My fine art tends to be painterly with non-representational colors, and I follow a post-impressionist philosophy of painting on a flat canvas with respect to its “flatness.” In other words, I wasn’t trying to trick the eye into seeing depth on my canvases. In children’s illustration, showing depth and perspective is important when you are trying to create a relatable world on the page.
To learn how to illustrate, I went to several places. My good friend Elizabeth Dulemba has a fabulous blog and website with great information for illustrators. (Check out her “advice” page.) I also had my portfolio critiqued at SCBWI conferences, and I studied other artists’ portfolios at these conferences. I checked out hundreds of books from my library (I also spent a lot of time on the couch at my local indie bookstore flipping through books), and I absorbed other illustrators’ styles and techniques.
Finally, all of my hard work paid off, the stars aligned, and I came up with a main character [pictured at the top of this post].
And a great hook for a story: “Wednesday Addams meets Fancy Nancy.”
And several critiques and years later, Puzzled By Pink was acquired by Viking.
So, I’ll end this as so many great stories end — with a big ‘Happily ever after…’ “
This plot sounds intriguing. I have a certain seven-year-old with an emerging sense of humor that verges on very Wednesday-Addams, who will most likely find this story a hoot and a holler. (I must say “a hoot and a holler,” since I’m sharing this post today with a fellow Southerner.)
Best of luck to Sarah Frances, and thanks to her for visiting.
PUZZLED BY PINK. Copyright © 2012 by Sarah Frances Hardy. Published by Viking Books, New York. All images used with permission of Ms. Hardy.
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) Surviving manuscript edits. Not only were round one of manuscript edits due this week for me and Betsy and Peter, but I also had multiple Kirkus columns due this week. I’m also getting ready for some travel and had my regular work-work on top of all that. If you add all those together, you get a little punch-drunk giddy towards the end of the week, especially if you’re listening to “The Final Countdown” by Europe (long story) and especially if you’re goofing off with Adrienne, Tanita, and Farida (as I was). I took this picture for them, and I share it here. This is smack-dab What You Look Like On Little to No Sleep When Manuscript Edits Are Givin’ You the Serious Skunk Eye.
(I do myself no favors by sharing that picture. As Eisha would say, yiggedy. But I have little to no pride.)
Also (another long story), I was trying there with that metal-head, get-those-horns-up look to channel my best Gob (“Mr. Bananagrabber”) Bluth. Gob is pictured below — twice, ’cause I can’t possibly decide which picture is my favorite.
2) When really smart, deserving people get promotions. (That should be kick #1.)
3) Andrew Bird very nearly heals all wounds, little and big. (Do yourself a favor and go to that link there and listen to the very last—and very short track—“Belles.” Bless my soul. So beautiful. But then I have a thing for bells. And chimes.)
4) When my Gillian and my David* sing live with Old Crow Medicine Show — and dude from Old Crow Medicine Show nails the bass vocals. (I have some of this on a CD from a previous Bonnaroo performance.)
[*Are you all getting tired of hearing about Gillian and David? I’m getting tired of my own self bringing them up every week, but I’m sorry, they’re one of the world’s best duos.]
5) The way my six-year-old keeps doing this, no kidding, in nearly all pictures taken of her:
Those are but four of many examples.
She would very much like you to stay classy. Forever.
6) This wonderful post from Philip Nel on Seuss: “And the children are eagerly welcoming the good writers who talk, not down to them as kiddies, but talk to them clearly and honestly as equals.” Betsy Bird’s Re-Seussification Project was also pretty great.
7) The second song here by Kishi Bashi is full of happy and hand claps. Also, I look forward to Regina Spektor’s new CD, and her new song (also at that link) is nothin’ to sneeze at either. I may have listened to it ten times in a row while composing this post.
BONUS: I love everything about this song, but most especially 1) the lyrics and 2) the melody.
Let’s just get this out of the way quickly: I’m a Nerdasaurus Rex for creating that photo.
As you read this, I’m on a plane, traveling all my byself (as my seven-year-old used to say as a toddler) to Pennsylvania for this week’s Highlights Foundation’s Founder’s Workshop, “Making the Web Work for You.” I will be speaking there, and it’ll be my first time at this Honesdale campus, which I hear is beautiful and filled with lovely, coffee-pot-equipped rustic cabins and such (and I hear that we’ll all be very well-fed). I will also get to meet one of 7-Imp’s readers, Stacey Loscalzo, who has signed up for the workshop, and I’m very happy about having the chance to meet her (because she’s super nice and I think that children’s literacy consultants are, along with teachers and librarians, the real heroes of the world).
What are YOUR kicks this week?