7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #297: Featuring Edward Hemingway

h1 September 16th, 2012 by jules

Here’s an illustration from artist Edward Hemingway’s forthcoming illustrated title, Tiny Pie, written by Mark Bailey and Michael Oatman and coming in May from Running Press Kids.

Edward, who paints with oils on canvas and wood, also saw the release this year of Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, August 2012), all about an apple and a worm who become good friends — and weather hard times, given the funny looks and mean comments they get for being friends in the first place. (Let us not forget the enduring wisdom of the popular mid-’90s bumper sticker.)

Edward is here today to talk a bit about his books, his paintings, and I also couldn’t resist briefly asking him about his heritage. Yes, he’s Ernest’s grandson.

Let’s get right to it, since Edward shares so many images today. And for that I thank him.

P.S. If you read below, you’ll see that this is a very special day for Edward …

* * *

Jules: Can you talk about your choice to use oils for Bad Apple?

Edward: My desire to work in oils has always been a selfish one, and I’m terribly selfish. I love the medium, the texture, the smells, and ultimately the surface of the finished product. My first two books were painted in acrylics, and I found myself missing the oil-painting process, which I have been doing sporadically since my teens. Bad Apple seemed like the perfect book with which to reopen my box of oils, as its compositions are filled with lush outdoor scenes of trees and water and hills and red, red apples.






Bad Apple paintings in the studio before I finished them and handed them in.
(I work on most of them all at once for drying purposes.)”

I continued the oil painting trend with Tiny Pie and had fun tackling interiors. For that book, the publisher only wanted digital files, so—instead of painting on canvas (rolling scanners require images with a flexible surface)—I was able to paint on hard wood board and then scan the images myself. There is something about the flatness of painting on board that I love. And in the end, you are left with this great object.

Which, of course, I keep for myself, being terribly selfish.


“Unfinished Tiny Pie painting on my easel.”



“A couple of pics of Tiny Pie paintings in progress”


Final cover

But I haven’t become a complete slave to oils just yet. My friend and former graduate program adviser, Maira Kalman (yes, the divinely talented sometimes walk among us) has done such wonders with gouache, and I think I may try to tackle that medium next. Lately, I have been playing around with exaggerated areas of flatness in my compositions, and it seems to me that gouache could lend itself nicely to this.

Jules: Is there something in particular that spawned the story of Bad Apple?


“Mac took his new friend to the watering hole to clean off.
He couldn’t remember a better day.”

Edward: I can tell you exactly how the seed (sorry) of the idea for Bad Apple came about. I was on the phone with a pal of mine, who does these nonfiction children’s books about machines and vehicles and the likes, trying to convince him to join myself and my friend Sara Varon for a day at an apple orchard. Sara does books and graphic novels with animals and robots, among other things.

My friend wasn’t biting; he told me he had too much work to do, was on deadline, etc. (all things I should have been saying to myself as well, but I’m crackerjack about letting deadlines slide).

So, I gave him this pitch:

“Think of it as research. We could all do books about the orchard. You could write one about the on-site tractor; Sara could do a book about the orchard goats; and I could make a book about … a … um … a … bad apple?”

It had just come to me. And suddenly I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. What was a “bad apple” exactly, and what would a book about one entail? Maybe it would be about an apple and a worm, and they would be friends. Voilà.

My busy friend didn’t join us at the orchard that day, but Sara and I had a great time and got to feed some very charming goats. They left her happy but uninspired, and she ended up doing a couple of awesome books about ducks and cupcakes instead. I wrote Bad Apple and it’s sequel, Bad Apple’s Perfect Day.


“Black and white rejected endpaper sketch of Mac and Will’s world for Bad Apple.”
(Click to enlarge)

My hard-working friend stayed in, met his deadline, and won the first of several national awards.

Is there a moral to this story? If there is, it’s lost on me.


“…he looked up in the sky.”

Jules: The Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that your spreads “recall old campground postcards of the 1950s.” Do you/did you set out to be retro, or did it just end up that way?

Edward: I like to think of my work as being a bit retro — but with a modern sensibility.

One of my favorite teachers once told me that our limitations create our style, and I believe this. I am always trying to be a better painter, but I have also learned to embrace and exaggerate my flaws, which ultimately make my work unique, make it mine. My warped sense of perspective, my crude brush strokes, my flat compositions, my love of aping cartoons of the 1940s and 50s.



From Tiny Pie
(Click second image to see spread in its entirety)



From Tiny Pie
(Click second image to see spread in its entirety)

I used to find a lot of inspiration in other artists with romantic and often retro styles, but I’m trying to let go of that a little. No one will ever make a better William Joyce book than William Joyce, so why try?

The best you can hope for is to make your best work in your own voice.

Maybe one day I’ll make a better Edward Hemingway book than Edward Hemingway (who, I heard, really isn’t all that selfish). It’s a goal.


From Tiny Pie
(Click to enlarge)

Jules: You will be teaching at the School of Visual Arts next year, yes? Will this be your first time teaching?

Edward: I will be teaching Creative Writing in an amazing new graduate program at SVA next year, called MFA Visual Narrative.

I have substitute-taught Creative Writing at the graduate level on and off for several years, but I am really looking forward to working with artists and helping them tell their stories on a larger scale. Plus, I like an audience I can tell what to do.


From Tiny Pie
(Click to see entire spread from which this illustration comes)

Jules: I gotta ask: How does your grandfather’s work inform your writing, if at all?

Edward: I’m very proud of my heritage and the success of—and beauty present in—my grandfather’s writing, but he’s had no true influence on my work as an artist or writer.

My physique, however, is another matter. Thanks for the gut, Grandpa!


From Tiny Pie
(Click to enlarge)

Jules: What are you working on now?

Edward: I am currently working on the second book about Mac the apple and Will the worm, entitled, Bad Apple’s Perfect Day. It’s all about making the most of a disappointing situation, something I think we all have had experience trying to do. I’m also in the beginning stages of another picture book and trying to get Bad Apple adapted to the small screen.


From Tiny Pie
(Click to enlarge)

Jules: I’m posting this on your birthday. Big plans?

Edward: It’s my birthday today! I probably won’t do anything too exciting, but I will buy all the local newspapers (remember those?) and read my horoscopes. It’s the one day a year I like to do this, mainly because I hate reading horoscopes, seeing the line, “If your birthday is today…” and being jealous and wishing it was my birthday and it’s not. Ah, the little things.

I will also be reading Bad Apple and answering questions about it at Books of Wonder in Manhattan.

It’s the first promotion for Bad Apple that I will be doing and kicks off the informal cross-country book tour I’m making in October.

BAD APPLE. Copyright © 2012 by Edward Hemingway. Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York. All images here reproduced by permission of Edward Hemingway.

* * * * * * *

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.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

I guess most of these are music kicks, but when I’ve had too much writing at my computer, which is how most of my days go, I gotta get up and hear music and/or dance around to it. For writing breaks. It’s just necessary.

1) When I found out Fionn Regan had a new CD, I ordered it to show up on my doorstep next-day. (I think I was slow in finding this out, so by “new,” I mean 2012 — and I think it even saw a 2011 release in Ireland, where he lives. Generally, I’m confused—and I usually am—but it’s new to me.) It’s good stuff. Wanna hear a tune?

Dogwood Blossom by Fionn Regan on Grooveshark

He’s a great songwriter: “Keep climbing into my head without knockin’ / and you fix yourself there like a map pin / on this ghost of this street where I’m livin’ / I’m in a chrysalis and I’m snowed in.”

2) This is peppier. MUCH peppier:

This band, The Kingston Springs, is all new to me, but all I know is that I liked that when I heard it this week. And I turned it up very loudly.

3) Ditto for this CD from riverwolves:

4) And then one morning this week—because Rufus Wainwright’s voice makes my day better and because I think this song is flawless, what with THAT piano and THAT bass and, again, THAT VOICE!—I listened to this. And it started my day off right, even if it’s not exactly a happy song. I just had to sit with my eyes closed and soak it in before I could work. Surely, that’s more information than you need to know, but all that’s to say: It’s sublime.

Leaving For Paris No. 2 by Rufus Wainwright on Grooveshark

On account of that piano, I could listen to that song about seven hundred and seventy-seven times in a row.

5) You all remember how on a monthly basis The Bluegrass Special would include 7-Imp content? Well, now it has a new name: Deep Roots. It has a new focus (“roots music & meaningful matters”) and a new look. I am still flattered that they include 7-Imp content every month—their new issue includes my interview with illustrator Christian Robinson—because the guys who do this publication are very talented. (Here’s an example of the goodness you’ll see there re music). Many thanks to David McGee for including 7-Imp in this wonderful publication.

6) I love seeing the people my daughters are becoming.

7) As you’re maybe reading this on Sunday morning, I’m in Nashville, speaking at SCBWI Midsouth’s 2012 Fall Conference. I’m giving a presentation about picture books. The Friday-night me, who is typing this, is really hoping that the Sunday-me is doing well at this presentation right now. (Go, Sunday-me! You can do it! You will make sense. You will!)

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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25 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #297: Featuring Edward Hemingway”

  1. That bad apple looks good! I’m putting it on my (special) list. I am glad Mr. Hemingway and Miss Vernon (ah, how I love HER tale of friendship as well) went to the Orchard despite deadlines. Thanks for that lovely post, for the music and I am crossng my fingers for you at your talk…you’ll knock their socks off!


  2. Jules:
    I love his quote—The best you can hope for is to make your best work in your own voice. I really enjoyed seeing all his art and how the idea came to him for Bad Apple. My favorite visual–Elephant Lane outside at night.
    I know you are doing well with your presentation. I am so wishing I could be there. I really like Dogwood Blossom.

    My kicks for the week:
    1. Continued cooler weather
    2. Seeing Theo (my tree frog) changing color and probably seeing him for the last time
    3. Walking along the Lake Michigan shoreline yesterday
    4. Reading wonderful picture books and two wonderful MG books this week.
    5. Working in my gardens, getting them ready for winter
    6. Visits to my favorite bookstores and public library plus getting new books in the mail
    7. Walking with Xena

    Have a wonderful week everyone.


  3. Hi there, Edward! Thank you for sharing your art with us. Best of luck with your creations and your classes. Happy birthday!

    Jules: I have now come to expect cute little mice at 7-Imp. ;-) Have a wonderful time at the conference today. Yay for your awesome daughters.

    JES: I obtained The Night Circus from the library and will read it later this month, if not this week. I’ll let you know what I think. Thank you for the recommendations!

    Hi lisainberlin!

    Margie: Shorelines can be so, so pretty. Hi to Theo.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) One of my screenplays made it into the next round of a contest for filmmakers, which means it’s getting a reading this Wednesday. I’m extremely excited. The finalists are determined by the votes of the audience, so I hope they like what they hear! After a few more rounds, the top 3 scripts get funding to produce their short films.
    2) Being on set
    3) Writing
    4) Reading
    5) Research
    6) Music
    7) Leverage continues to inspire me as a writer and as an actor. Looking forward to the summer season finale tonight!


  4. Jules,
    Thanks so much for another great post! I hope you’re having a wonderful time at the conference and am sure you’re doing AWESOME!

    Margie-I also love that idea from Edward about “The best you can hope for is to make your best work in your own voice.” And walking along the shoreline sounds lovely :)

    Kicks for the week:

    1. Finally started posting about my classes! Here’s the initial post where I explain how I’ll be posting: http://alice-peregrinations.blogspot.com/2012/09/come-follow-along-with-me.html

    I’ve already posted about Catcher in the Rye and a few posts on fairy tales!

    2. Started reading Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm and love it! It even gave me an idea for my paper in my fairy tale class :)

    3. Discovered this priest from Minnesota (Fr. Mike Schmitz) and he is literally one of the most AMAZING and FUNNY people I have ever heard. Even if you’re not religious you should watch this less than two minute video, it’s hilarious and will make you smile and maybe even laugh out loud: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNVBg3a_qaA&feature=related

    4. Taught my first art history class of the year, and I think it went well, I got the kids talking, almost all of them said something from the 5 year old to the 15 year old, it was great!

    5. Was walking to class Tuesday morning and was surprised when I realized I wasn’t dying of heat or sweating, but there was actually a cool breeze instead of a humid wave of thick air!

    6. Emailed my 8 fairy tale questions to Cornelia Funke! I am so excited, she is literally pretty much my favorite author since ages ago and she responded to me on facebook and told me she would love to talk to me about fairy tales!!

    7. Finally coming back to 7imp and kicking this week, it just makes me feel so happy and love to hear about everyone :)

    Have a wonderful week!


  5. Little Willow- I hope you enjoy The Night Circus!! And would love to hear your thoughts on it, I read it last year and loved it and am planning on rereading it this Oct/Nov


  6. Oh, Edward’s work is lovely! I feel inspired now, just to be me (and possibly a better me than I used to be)! I also am excited to read The Night Circus (it is staring at me from my bookshelf). Getting a kick out of my kids reading and doing their homework (voluntarily) right now, beautiful weather, getting ready to send out a new postcard this week! All best to Jules and friends of 7-imp!


  7. Happy Birthday, Edward. Love these spreads, especially Bad Apple looking into the sunset.

    Jules, enjoy the conference.
    1. Fall
    2. Visiting my home town for the first time in 25 years
    3. On top of my MFApplication
    4. A fabulous illustrator agreed to an interview on my little blog soon
    5. this blog has been the inspiration for my own illustrator series this year.
    6. Finally thought of a present for my best friend’s wedding next weekend.
    7. Read CHAINS this week and as a foreigner, it is the first book that has really touched me about the American revolution


  8. Hey everyone!

    I’m super-busy this afternoon but couldn’t resist stopping by for a brief visit. Love seeing everyone’s kicks, as always, but I’m afraid I’ll just have to leave this cardboard box of my weekly 7 kicks on the 7-Imp floor for y’all to rummage through at your leisure. They’re all very nice ones and I know each of you will fine something you like: there’s a movie rec, and a music video, and, well, you know how the world is sometimes too much with us? Yeah. THAT.

    (Aside to LW and other [actual or potential] Night Circus groupies: I posted a looong and awfully-close-to-spoiler-free review of it yesterday.)


  9. Edward’s work is lovely.
    I’d love to see Sara’s cupcake and Edward’s apple meet one day. Thanks for sharing.
    Jules-Music and dancing is very important. I’m sure you are rocking it at the conference.
    Hi Lisa
    I love all of your kicks Margie. Sounds like a wonderful week.
    L.W.-Congrats on your screenplay, Yay!
    Welcome back Jess!
    Nina- Hooray for new postcards. Can’t wait to see it.
    Joanna-I’m glad you got to go home. Sounds like a long time coming.
    J.E.S.-The World! Right!

    Kicks

    1. Cookies in the mail (thanks, Nina)
    2. Trumpet in the mail
    3. Arty girl who doesn’t like sports has joined the cross country track team?!
    4. Tweak, tweak, tweaking my website.
    5. Hero husband fixed the dryer.
    6. Went to the Danforth Museum with my sister to see “Picture This”, a juried picture book artist show. http://www.danforthmuseum.org/picture_this2012.html
    7. Music once again helped me cope with a loss. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bausG809hv0&feature=related
    Here is a post I wrote a while back about my neighbor. We’ll miss him.
    http://moirart.blogspot.com/2009/07/walking-my-baby.html

    Have a lovely week all.


  10. I love Edward’s stuff. I hold him up there with Sergio Ruzzier in being one of those incredibly distinct and stylish, somewhat surreal/weird (in the best way!), dreamy pic book makers working today. Great post and behind-the-scenes coverage!


  11. [...] those.) So imagine my surprise when I saw that the very same Edward Hemingway was the subject of a Seven Imps‘ post this [...]


  12. Love the artwork today! I hope you went well this morning Jules!

    Jess congrats on the art class, I hope I remember to read your blog about it when I am more awake!

    Moira, trumpet in the mail sounds very sophisticated and cool.

    I am loving my time in the US so far. Kicks include:
    1. First sighting of chipmunks today! They are faster, smaller and even cuter than I expected!
    2. The multitude of free museums and galleries in DC – loved being able to pop in and out without feeling like I had to the value out of an expensive ticket
    3. Trying lots of foods on my US hit list, plus bonus ones like s’mores at someone’s house during the week (what a clever invention )
    4. Seeing all of the different houses in different areas, so many of them just looking American and cute
    5. Perfect weather for walking all over
    6. Great pressies found include baby Halloween costumes for friends’ babies (we don’t celebrate in Aus)
    7. Cute American accents :-)


  13. Thanks, Lisa — and everyone! The talk went well. Whew. That’s done.

    Margie, now that was a week full of rich kicks — gardening, bookstores, walking, reading. I love walking and not just ’cause Walker is my maiden name.

    Little Willow! Kick #1 is so terrifically exciting! CONGRATS! Fingers crossed for you! I can’t stop using exclamation marks! Keep us updated. Please.

    Hi again, Jess! So glad you’re enjoying classes. I hope to read about them at the link you shared, once I get caught up on stuff. Also, I think my daughter will like the Inkheart series. I keep telling her about it.

    Hi, Nina! Thanks, and all the best to you, too!

    Joanna: Shucks. I’m happy to read 7-Imp was a good kind of inspiration. Do you know I’ve never read Chains? Gotta fix that.

    John, I’m good with cardboard-box kicks. (I like that idea.) Have a good week!

    Moira: Thanks for the music. I had no idea Willie Nelson had musician sons. Sorry about your loss. “Picture This” sounds like it was fun, though, and a highlight of your week. And cross country track? Really? YOU GO.

    Hi, Matt. Thanks!


  14. Emmaco: You’re here! I had fun just reading your kicks. S’mores! Wow. I wish I lived near D.C. and could meet up with you. And you don’t celebrate Halloween in Australia? This is the Thing I’ve Learned From You This Week.


  15. Just to be clear the trumpet is for my son and my arty daughter is doing cross country. I am sitting around eating cookies ;)


  16. Moira: Gotcha. I wholeheartedly approve of the sitting-around-and-eating-cookies.


  17. Jess from Alice in Baker Street: Hurrah for your lineup of new classes! Have fun sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm with your students, and reading a fairy tale a day. Remind me next week, and if I’ve read the book by then, I’ll certainly tell you and JES and the Imps at large what I thought, and I’ll read your review then, JES! :)

    Nina: You have a cool name. Anyone know which book made me like that name?

    Joanna: I hope it was a happy homecoming.

    Thanks, Moira. Sorry for your loss. Music is wonderfully therapeutic.

    Emmaco: Please say hello to the chipmunks for me! Have un in the States!

    Thanks, Jules! I’m all kinds of flattered. And motivated.


  18. Also, Jules, I saw someone today who looked enough like you to make me think, “I hope Jules is having fun at the conference!”


  19. Little Willow: Yes, the conference was fun.

    Which book made you like the name Nina? I’m stumped.


  20. [...] that seemed too daunting, to pick the best things that happened this summer (there were lots!). So, with a nod to Jules at 7 Imp (who does this every WEEK – how dedicated is that?), I am presenting, in no particular order, [...]


  21. Oh, I hear ya on Rufus Wainwright. Have you heard him sing What Are You Doing New Years Eve? It’s my favourite holiday song – I could listen to it in July.

    I don’t have a weekly list but I did a Seven Summer Kicks on my blog! (I think it pinged you.) Cheers!


  22. By the way, have you seen this? Graphic novel edition of A Wrinkle in Time! With preview!

    http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/09/a-wrinkle-in-time-the-graphic-novel-comic-excerpt


  23. Hi, Christian. Those were fun to read. Raspberries are the best, and “writing is revising” speaks to me right now.

    I’ve read about that graphic novel but haven’t seen it yet.


  24. p.s. Christian: No, haven’t heard Rufus sing that yet. I MUST!


  25. I was about to write this comment, when I saw Matt’s note above. Over-kind of him, especially knowing his exceptional standards.

    What I wanted to say, is that Ed’s work is going to become indelible, thankfully. I can’t say the same about most people publishing today.


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