People thought she couldn’t do it, but we sure proved ’em wrong!
And I was proud of myself for helping her choose some pretty colors for the painting.”
It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means it’s time here at 7-Imp to shine the spotlight on a student or new-to-the-field illustrator.
Today I’ve got illustrator, artist, and mural-maker Robert Trujillo, who is from Oakland, California. Robert has yet to be published as an illustrator but is, as he told me, trying to learn more about the field and meet like minds “in real time or through the Web.”
Speaking of the Web, Robert’s site is the cool side of satin, especially if you dig art and jazz (and/or funk and/or soul). Case-in-point is here.
Okay, digression over.
The illustration above, rendered in watercolor and ink, is one of two illustrations Robert created from a short story he’s written about a mother and daughter who build their own lowrider. The second illustration, as well as more artwork from Robert, is below.
And here are more words from Robert, who is pictured above at a recent visit to an elementary school in Sacramento. (More on that visit and more pictures are here at Robert’s site.)
Robert: “At this moment…I’m focusing my energy on creating stories on walls, in classrooms, and on canvas and paper. One of my goals right now is to finish a series of short stories based in children’s books and comics illustration. The stories focus on children of color, fantasy, science fiction, and cultural practices. The series of short stories is a healthy exercise for me to experiment with my illustration and creative writing. Although I have been an artist for most of my life and I have been to art school, I’m pretty much teaching myself how to illustrate sequential stories. I have been blessed to receive feedback, comments, love, and encouragement from my community. And that lets me know I’m doing something right. As a direct result, I have been invited to visit several classrooms in California to share my short stories, and I’m building towards self-publishing my work and collaborating with any like-minded folks.”
She sanded it down with scratchy paper.
And I tried to figure out what kind of dances it would do.”
on the border between rural and city.”
as a boy, but I used another child as a model.”
and I enjoyed how it came out.”
called ‘Gye Nyame vs. Fantastic Phono Freaks.’ It is a short story about a musical battle between two groups of kids. Read more here.”
(Click to enlarge image)
I’ll close with an image from a full-length story Robert wrote about himself and his son. If you’d like to learn more about Robert and his artwork, his site awaits. (I can see him doing YA covers, in particular. Can’t you? If I had a picture book in my hands that elaborated on the story of the lowrider-building girl and her mama, I wouldn’t complain either. Just sayin’. Just throwin’ that out to the picture book gods, if they’re listening. What do picture book gods do anyway? Paint a lot? Sit around and discuss the marriage of words and images? Is their heaven a series of 32 clouds? Am I a dork for asking these questions? Why, yes I am.)
I thank Robert for visiting and sharing his art here at 7-Imp.
All images are copyright © 2012 by Robert Trujillo and used with his 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. New kickers are always welcome.
1) It’s been very touching to see the outpouring of love for friend and co-author Peter D. Sieruta, given his sudden death last week, which I still can’t wrap my head around. I won’t pretend that I haven’t been nearly counting every breath lately, grateful for each one, given that this all reminds me—and all of us—that tomorrow is never a guarantee. And I miss him. I wish that, somehow, he could know how many people miss his words and were moved by and entertained by the stories he shared in his lifetime — and the kindnesses he extended to others.
2) Our smart editor had the great idea, though, to have a day next year where we all remember and celebrate him, closer to the time when we’ll have galleys for our upcoming book. I really love this idea. And more on that later (for interested folks).
3) My girls and I finished reading the Harry Potter series together (meaning: we all cuddle up, and Mama reads the dialogue in her best British accent, numerous flaws and all). It was pretty momentous when we got to the last word. We laughed a lot and we cried a lot during all those books, which took us years to read, and I know we’ll never have that time again, the reading-it-for-the-first-time experience. This hasn’t stopped the eight-year-old, though, from starting the series all over again on her own. She read Book One in one day — and Book Two the next. (Mind you, this is the child who came out of my womb with her face in a book, saying, “just … just … HOLD UP, PEOPLE. I’m in the middle of a chapter. And where’s my bookmark?”)
For all the rest of my life, I’ll remember reading the last sentence of chapter thirty-four, “The Forest Again,” in that final book (I won’t give away spoilers here) and the stunned silence that followed and the emotions afterward. We three had managed (somehow) to avoid spoilers and weren’t prepared for that.
I know I say this all the stinkin’ time, but it’s my privilege to read with them, and it’s my favorite thing in all the world, too.
(Also, the six-year-old—oh, there she is to the left—says she has a crush on Hermione and has been constantly walking around speaking in a fake British accent. Sometimes it wears me out—I mean to tell you she’ll do it ALL DAY LONG—but most of the time it just makes me laugh.)
4) The six-year-old finished Kindergarten (pictured above is the big grad on the big day) and had a difficult time saying goodbye to her teacher (as in, you can take first grade and SHOVE IT is what I could tell she really wanted to say). She worked all day last week on a goodbye card for her teacher, and she wrote the usual things, like “I love you” and “have a good summer,” but she also wrote “I will not forget you.” And that stopped me in my tracks when I saw it.
Not a kick so much, but maybe the kicky part is the reminder that children feel so deeply and can get so attached to a good teacher.
(I’m just now noticing how tightly I cling to her arm in that picture, the end of a ferocious hug probably. That’s the grip of a mother who can’t believe Kindergarten is already over and might want to slow down time a bit.)
5) See this record?
Please disregard the fact that I tend to speak in hyperbole, and believe me when I say that it is a real and true and cross-my-heart-hope-to-die MASTERPIECE. (Most critics in the mid-’90s agreed, if you don’t want to take just my word for it.) It’s from 1994, and it was Sam Phillips proving that she’s the fifth Beatle. (It was also the album, based on the cover alone, that got her this 1995 role as the deadly mute German terrorist in Die Hard: With a Vengeance. Once, when Farida saw her live—and, come to think of it, I’ve heard her say this live, too—Sam said she’s not going to act in another movie until she pays back everyone who forked over the cash to see her in that film.)
Well, the folks at Omnivore Recordings—no, I don’t work for them, but they are clearly smart people—are reissuing it in July with bonus tracks and it’ll be the first time ever on vinyl (white vinyl even) and … and … and … it’s all very exciting. Yes, I ordered both CD and vinyl, even if I, um, don’t own a turntable. (I’ll have to fix that.)
6) Speaking of music, this tune below from RJD2 is a great song, and I thank Eisha for finding and sharing it:
Also, I’ve only listened to this song from Regina Spektor about seven thousand times this week:
“Love what you have and you’ll have more love / you’re not dying.” Yes.
7) It’s challenging during the summers when you have school-aged children and work from home. I still haven’t found my new get-my-work-done groove. But I treasure the time with them, and I’m happy to have more of that right now.
There’s been a lot of loss in children’s lit lately. Philip Nel addresses that so gracefully right here.
What are YOUR kicks this week?