What I Did at Kirkus Last Week, a Follow-Up (Part Two)

h1 July 6th, 2012 by jules

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Unfinished illustration
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Final art (without text): “And Georgia painted!”
Yuyi: “The first color image shows the pieces I used to assemble the final art. These were all hand-cut, painted individually, scanned, and then composed, cleaned, and ‘repainted’ digitally, until it all looked like the second color piece….”

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Last Friday at Kirkus, I chatted with illustrator Yuyi Morales about her research for Amy Novesky’s Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O’Keeffe Painted What She Pleased, published by Harcourt in March. Just a few weeks ago, the book was named a Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book.

Here’s that Q & A, and let me also note that Jama Rattigan had a wonderful chat with Novesky in March of this year.

Below are some spreads from the book, as well as some thumbnails and work-in-progress images. Also included is the final question I asked Yuyi for this Q & A. I ran out of room over at Kirkus, but you can read it here.


* * *

Jules: What are you working on now?

Yuyi: I just finished my book, Niño Wrestles the World, and I am tremendously happy with it. This is a book with Roaring Brook Press and Neal Porter, and I couldn’t be more delighted working again with this group of artists, thinkers, [and] creative people, who are embedding into my work the richest of their talents. Niño is a lucha libre story, filled with some of my favorite (scary) Mexican characters, and it is also a tribute to games and to my two sisters, Magaly and Elizabeth, who were the truest terrors of my childhood.

And on my painting/construction table right now is a book about Frida Kahlo, the Mexican painter. This is not a biography of the artist, but rather, as Neal likes to refer to it, more of a meditation about Frida. Hopefully, the result will be as delightful as the creation, for this book is a combination of puppetry, photography, paintings, cut out paper, and digital art.

And I am loving every minute of this work.

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Yuyi: “Here are the thumbnail, sketch, and final image for the cover that we ended up not using. In the end, Harcourt decided on something lighter and more dynamic.
This is the first time I got all the way to creating an image that, in the end, is not used.
A strange feeling.”

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Below is a series of thumbnails from the book, what Yuyi called her
“very simple drawings, trying to decide the scenes for each page.”
Click on each image to enlarge it:



Below are some spreads (sans text) from the book.
Click on each to enlarge it:


“Despite the pineapple trouble, Georgia started her tour. She flew to the island of Maui. There she stayed on an old sugar plantation at the edge of a rainforest and carried a paper umbrella when it rained. In a borrowed banana wagon, she drove the tightly winding mountain roads. Georgia went where she wanted, when she wanted.”

“Georgia painted waterfalls and green pleated mountains, lava hardened into fantastic shapes, and delicate, feathered fishhooks that she collected like seashells.
And Georgia painted the blue, blue sea.”

“But then she thought about Hawaii and all that it had given her. She decided to give the company what they wanted. Thirty-six hours later, a Hawaiian pineapple arrived at Georgia’s penthouse in New York City—though Georgia didn’t need it. When she
closed her eyes, she could still see Hawaii and its sharp and beautiful fruit.”


* * * * * * *

All images/sketches from GEORGIA IN HAWAII are copyright © 2012 by Yuyi Morales and used with her permission.

6 comments to “What I Did at Kirkus Last Week, a Follow-Up (Part Two)”

  1. Jules, thank you for giving us the opportunity to see Yuyi’s art upclose!
    Yuyi, your book about Georgia is beautiful! Thank you for sharing how each doble-page spread generated. It’s so interesting to see your process! Congratulations!

  2. I love Yuyi Morales’ work — I think she’s such an evolving artist and always reaching out in her art. It’s a thrill to read about her new projects and to see her process for Georgia. Thank you!

  3. Yuy’s “very simple drawings” are gorgeous as is her finished work. I need to get my hands on Georgia in Hawaii as fast as possible. Thanks to you both for this post and the one at Kirkus.

  4. Thank you, Yuyi Morales and Jules, for sharing these images. I love seeing the process from initial sketch to completed illustration!

  5. What a pleasure to be part of Jule’s work. Thank you, everybody, for taking the time to look up close and to be curious, but mostly for sharing this looking back to a job I enjoyed doing so much.

  6. Thank you for shaing your creative process, Yuyi; I love seeing your artistic process from the initial sketches and drawings to the beautiful finished art! I look forward to seeing your future creations of illustrated and written books to inspire all our kids – and adults as well!
    Dennis MacKenzie

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