7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #316: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Colin Sutherland

h1 February 3rd, 2013 by jules

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I’ve featured a lot of student or brand-new illustrators lately and have yet another today. It’s the first Sunday of February, and the first Sundays of each month are devoted to the new folks, so I keep my promise today.

And I’m happy to welcome Colin Sutherland, whom I’d be pleased to tell you all about, but I’m going to hand 7-Imp over to him so that he can tell you about himself. He’s also sharing some art, of course, and my personal favorite is pictured above.

[Note: Colin and I would both like to point out that Bear Hunt, pictured below in this post, is—in Colin’s words—“a little graphic and upsetting.” Consider yourselves notified, dear Imps.]

* * *

Colin: Hi. My name is Colin, and I am an illustrator living in the mountains of North Carolina. I have been starting and abandoning picture book projects since I was in junior high. In the past few years, I have progressed to almost completing a couple (sort of) and have way too many ideas for future ones.

Game Trail
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Picture books are very dear to me, and it is such a joy to make them myself. There is a book called The Bear Dance by Chris Riddell that could probably be singularly accredited for my interest in children’s literature. My dad brought it back from a business trip when I was a kid, and it is the first book I can remember developing a relationship with. Mr. Riddell’s art is so enchanting in that book, and it has always been the first one I grab off the shelf when I want to think about pacing or composition or any of that stuff that I fret about instead of drawing.

In addition to The Bear Dance and a number of other personal favorites, I am equally inspired by every one of the amazing artists and authors making books right now. Everybody wants to talk about the end of the picture book as we know it and something called an “e-reader,” but every time I go to the bookstore and see a new title by Philip and Erin Stead or Jon Klassen or any of these amazing people making amazing books right now, I am bolstered. Nothing will make you want to draw more than going to the children’s section of your favorite bookstore and spending twenty minutes sitting in a tiny chair, watching kids pull books off the shelves.

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As far as my work goes, I mostly use col-erase pencil, graphite, and ink to make the preliminary drawing, which is scanned into the computer. I then grab textures, colors, and washes from all over the place and assemble it digitally. Most of these sources are pretty simple ink blots, water color washes, or torn paper, but sometimes I like to use less traditional techniques, such as photographing the mud splatter on my car after a particularly exciting puddle. Right now I’m working on a picture book dummy about a boy who discovers a wall in which he can just barely make out the amazing world beyond it, but cannot find a way over or through. It will probably be done soon and then comes the delightful process of sending it out into the world.

Thanks so much for reading.

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The Hat
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Bear Hunt
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Some dummies
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Colin’s desk
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All images are © Colin Sutherland 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.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) Well, I never. The ALA Youth Media Awards announcement on Monday was exciting. Congrats to all the award winners.

2) Speaking of, I enjoyed this video interview with Jon Klassen about his work:

3) Darrell Scott performed at a lovely old theater in Franklin, Tennessee, on Friday night (the same place where I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show in high school). Sold-out performance in a wonderful venue, though if there were any justice in the world, he’d play at the Ryman. So incredibly talented, this man, as well as the two folks who were on stage with him:

4) Did you all see this Sendak news? Thanks to Tanita for the link.

5) Mini Grey has a new website!

6) Shovels & Rope performed on Letterman this week. Did I mention theirs was probably my favorite CD of 2012?

7) I’m going to Boston this week and will actually get to meet my editor in person for the first time.

BONUS: I am eagerly awaiting Villagers’ new CD, which is already out in the UK but won’t be available here till Spring. (Villagers, as I think I’ve said before at 7-Imp, is really a musician name Conor O’Brien.) In the meantime, looky here. He covered a song from The Black Keys:

What are YOUR kicks this week?

17 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #316: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Colin Sutherland”

  1. It’s February already? Wha-? Why?

    Jules, thank you so much for your help while I was following the ALAYMA on Monday!


    1. My kind kind kind graduate thesis adviser.

    2. My online friendsssssss.

    3. Attending the launch of a picture book created by university students. University students talking about their favorite picture books for the winnnnnnn!

    4. People telling me that I look like I’m a celebrity. Hahaha!

    5. Being a guest speaker for a children’s literature class.

    6. Meeting kidlit writers.

    7. Planning a children’s festival OMG I AM SO EXCITED.

  2. Enjoying Colin Sutherland’s artwork on this third day in February (What happened to January? I’m still writing 2012 in my checkbook.) I especially like that downview of the three foxes on the game trail and the intriguing broken fence below the farmhouse.

    Jules – thanks for sharing Jon K’s interview and Mini Grey’s new website (I have a crush on her Traction Man) and, of course, all the fine music. Enjoy your editorial meeting; bundle up for Boston.

    I’ve been AWOL the last couple weeks because I’ve been traveling on Sundays. Two weeks ago, I gave a rhyming picture book workshop at the SCBWI Conference in Florida. Last weekend, I was at my Mom’s house updating her software and playing computer tech (which my sons find laughable—since they are usually my techs.) But hey, I did a pretty good job.

    My kicks:

    1. It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and I am not a big football fan, but I do enjoy a humorous or touching commercial. For those, like me, who will be skipping the game but are curious about the ads, they’re all here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferrooney/2013/02/01/watch-all-the-2013-super-bowl-commercials-and-vote-for-your-fave (I like the Clydesdale “Brotherhood” and Hyundai “Team” ads.)

    2. My son is 4 for 4 now on college acceptances. Odds are there are still a rejection or two coming his way… but it’s so nice (and a relief!) that he got good news first, from colleges he’s truly interested in. He checks our mailbox every day (it’s nerve-wracking.)

    3. Got some positive feedback on my workshop. Always good to hear. Enjoyed the trip and the Miami bookstore Books & Books.

    4. This artist photographer’s “cloud portraits”: http://www.booooooom.com/2012/06/09/artist-berndnaut-smilde-makes-real-clouds-appear-inside-gallery/

    5. Finished “Code Name: Verity” and really enjoyed it. So unique in the way the story unfolds. Reminded me a little of “The Book Thief”.

    6. The ALA announcements; and the resulting new stack of books I look forward to reading.

    7. The remote-control software I put on my Mom’s computer allows me to help her read/send e-mail, visit her family/friends on facebook and look up answers to things she’s interested in without her having to master new feats on her computer. So when I’m not there, I can still be of real assistance to her. Help her stay social. It is just the best thing since sliced bread!

    Have a great week kickers and lurkers and Jules. :- )

  3. Just popping in for a pre-breakfast “Hello”.
    I’m writing this from my brother’s couch in NYC. I’m off to the last day of the SCBWI Conf.
    Wish you all (y’all) were here.

  4. Thank you for sharing Collin’s work. I like his perspective.
    Jules, the news about Sendak was interesting as we’re the ALA awards.
    Tarie, good luck w/ the children’s festival.
    Denise, have missed you. It appears we were in Florida the same time. Love that your son has many college choices.
    Moira, hi there.
    My kicks:
    1. Being accepted into a poetry novel workshop at the Highlights Foundation.
    2. Having Helen Frost one of the instructors at said workshop.
    3. Being back at school.
    4. Friends over to celebrate my birthday last night.
    5. Time with friends.
    6. A collaborative effort with illustration a d haiku will be featured at the Asian Celebration in Eigene.
    7.saw a friend off to China this morning.
    Have a great week.

  5. Great post Jules! Looking forward to seeing more of Colin’s work.
    Love the Jon Klassen interview. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the SI Original Art Show in NYC last October. He’s a thoughtful and talented guy.
    Since I live in the Bay Area, I guess I have to say Go 49’ers!,
    but I’d much rather do the Time Warp again….

  6. Hello, Kickers!

    I was determined to come by 7-Imp this morning, having missed (except belatedly, read-only) the last couple Sundays’ glories here. (Especially happy to have read a couple weeks ago of emmaco’s upcoming family news. We look forward to experiencing second-hand the likely impenetrabilities of Australian baby talk: the mind reels.)

    It may go without saying that I love Colin Sutherland’s work. My own favorite may be Canopy‘s trees, filled with the ghosts of birds, but The Hat made me laugh. As for the bear-hunt image: yes, disturbing. But it’s also a complete story, compressed into a single frame, and very nicely done. He seems to be approaching the career, the business, and the art of picture-book making very thoughtfully. It doesn’t hurt that (per his Web site) he likes “comics about the apocalypse, children’s books, and gourmet corndogs.”

    Jules, I really like Jon Klassen’s thing (whatever it is) about animals their hats, especially missing hats. And boy, great musical selections today. I’ve said it before but in your (haha) spare time you really need to write more about music. (For you to declare a given CD as the best of a given year sure makes ME sit up and take notice.)

    Denise! Good to see you! Thanks for the link to the Super Bowl commercial playlist. Now I shall be able to appear cool and knowing tomorrow at the coffee machine at work. And that’s such great news about your young man!

    *waving* Hi, Moira!

    Happy (belated?) birthday, Jone!

    Kicks here, umm…

    1. A cloud of bloggish-rethinking ideas.
    2. Cool, sunny days.
    3. Blowing softly on ash-covered embers to watch them glow. (You may read that metaphorically if you wish.)
    4. The quora.com Q-and-A site, which blows my mind every week with new information and/or the generosity of those who offer it. Example: computational neuroscientist (!) Paul King’s answer to the question, “Why do we sleep?”
    5. The romantic-comedy science-fictionish movie TiMER charmed me much more than I’d thought it might. The central premise (Wikipedia: “a device that counts down to the moment you meet your soul mate”) is a bit of a stretch; it’s never really explained-explained. But if you just accept that it works in the movie’s world, and force yourself to stop asking questions about it, the film does a very nice (and sometimes even laugh-out-loud) job of poking around the social complexities such a thing might bring about.
    6. Making computers do exactly what you want them to do (and their not breaking down on the way there).
    7. A couple of years ago I made my first Kickstarter donation, for a new game. They just released part 1 of 5 and (for me) it’s very, very satisfyingly complete and… enigmatic.

    Have a great week, all!

  7. Good morning, Imps! Welcome to February.

    Nice to meet you, Colin. Hello to your pup as well. That picture of the dog in the studio is adorable.

    Jules: Have a safe and fun trip to and from Boston! Glad that you finally get to meet your editor in person.

    Tarie: You are a celebrity in your own right. 🙂 Have fun speaking, sharing, and planning!

    Denise: Continued congratulations to your son, and to you on your accomplishments and endeavors.

    Jone: Happy birthday! 🙂 Congrats on the acceptance.

    Hi Susan!

    Welcome back, JES! I have yet to see TiMER, though I’ve been intrigued by the premise since its release. Go Emma.

    My kicks from the past week:

    1) Musical reading
    2) Filming! I spent all day on set yesterday. So grateful.
    3) Reading new plays
    4) Knowledge
    5) Research
    6) What that is
    7) What it could be

    This week is tech week for another musical, this one based on a classic children’s novel. You all would dig it.

  8. Hi,
    My first time saying anything on 7-Imp. I was blown away by the awards this week!
    My kicks are:
    1. Taking a Caldecott class from KT Horning – get caught up on all the ‘old’ winners & honors.
    2. Thanks for the Darrell Scott intro – he’s awesome, we need some of his CDs
    3. Been thinking about writing and illustrating my own book, so thanks for the interview with Jon Klassen, I needed the ‘keep it simple’ advice.
    4. Reading “Drummer Hoff” by Barbara Emberley, illustrated by Ed Emberley, for the first time! LOVED it!
    5. “Shadow” by Marcia Brown – I love collage, and I’d never seen or read this title before either.
    6. During my library’s Mock Caldecott, I found this tltle: “Out on the Prairie” by Donna M. Bateman, illustrated by Susan Swan, and I keep reading, looking at the gorgeous collages and loving it. It’s a piggyback to “over in the meadow” song, but great informational text for young readers. It has notes in the back with more info.
    7. Started using a HappyLight, to help with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
    Have a terrific first week in Feb. 2012
    Dianna Burt

  9. Checking back in.

    Tarie – I’m sure your children’s festival will be wonderful. Congrats on your students’ launch.
    Moira – Hello wave to you, NYC and the conference.
    Jone – Yea for your workshop acceptance. Enjoy it and good luck with your poety novel.
    Susan – Hi.
    JES – Seems we’ve played hooky at the same time; good to see you too. #3 is intriguing. And I totally get the Kickstarter rush of a worthy bet playing out.
    LW – Will have to find out more about your upcoming musical… sounds right up my alley.

  10. Welcome, Dianna!

    Thanks, Denise. Email reply coming soon.

  11. Tarie, I like all your kicks, but I especially want to attend your festival. And I agree with what Little Willow said about your celebrity status.

    Denise, congrats on your bang-up computer tech job. I am really amazed by this notion of remote-control software. What the what? Really? That’s new to me, but sounds intriguing. Does it allow for privacy, or is that wonky? Is that a dumb question? And, oh wow, congrats to your son! Wait, that warrants another exclamation mark: ! … Not at all surprised that you got good feedback on your workshop. And thanks for the links, which I’ll explore in a moment here.

    Moira, have (more) fun at SCBWI! Thanks for thinking of us to pop in and say hi.

    Jone, happy birthday again, and congrats on the workshop!

    Hi, Susan! And I’ll do the Time Warp with you.

    John, you’re making me giggle with the Australian baby talk bit. I CANNOT WAIT to hear about this baby! … You’re right about the story swirling around Bear Hunt. Intriguing, indeed. … HOW MUCH DO I LOVE KICK #3? And thanks for the movie rec. (I’m intrigued and mystified by kick #1, but I wont’ pry!)

    LW: I love “what that is” as a kick. And filming all day! As always, I live vicariously through you.

    Welcome, Dianna. And with regard to kick #3: Go for it go for it go for it. … I’ll have to look for the Bateman book. Don’t think I’ve seen it. … And now I’m as intrigued by a Happy Light as I am by remote-control software. I learn so much from you impish kickers.

  12. Jules — the remote-control set-ups are completely private (between you and the remote computer you set the software up on. Password/software protected.) You can access your own computer from afar… actually SEE the desk top screen. Move about and grab any files or docs you need. Very cool. It’s the same software/technology that the Support Techs use when you call hp or apple or whomever. I’m using “GoToMy PC” which costs $9 a month. But there are several good providers out there. As for helping an elderly relative who is computer illiterate–it’s simply INVALUABLE! And using it now, I can see it would be great for personal use when I’m on the road; great to have complete home-computer access. Like I said: best thing since sliced bread. ha-ha!

  13. Hi Jules and All!
    very interesting illustrations. Thanks for sharing them – some are quite lovely, others a bit scary.

    My sound is not working on the computer I’m sitting at, so I can’t enjoy a single one of these links until later. I’m adding listening to my kick list.

    Mostly this week our news is mixed this week. Our darling foster daughter of 8 weeks was reunited very suddenly with her biological father and grandmother. We are sad to not have her with us, but her family worked very hard to get her back and they love her so much and wanted her even more. While we miss her sweetness, we are hoping they will care for her with the love and gentleness she deserves.

    1. can’t wait to listen to all these links from Jules
    2. going to watch the Superbowl at my parents’ place. They now are a 3 minute walk through the green.
    3. 70 degrees and warm, soft blue sky today in Los Angeles
    4. So glad the Caldecott wait is over. Now to study the books again and more carefully.
    5. recovering from bronchitis and a sinus infection
    6. starting to plan with my dear friends and collegues our next artist nurturing conference next summer in Maine. Some great ideas are rolling around!

    Trust you are all well and happy and in art!

  14. I’ve been remiss in my 7Imp visits, and am glad to read everyone’s good news and cheer! As some of you know, I have been an “accidental homeschooler” for two months. My husband and I are planning on our daughter attending a public school in September, but in the meantime, we’re the teachers. With that in mind:

    1. Homeschooling has kicked off a new interest in American history for me. Growing up in the Washington, D.C. area meant that I was surrounded by historical artifacts and records, but I wanted to study the Greeks and the Brits instead! I’m grateful now for all of the field-trips and family trips to historical places (the House of the Seven Gables was a favorite). So much of the time, I just remember feeling hot, sticky, and resentful that I wasn’t in Greece or England. Ha.

    2. We went to a bakery and I got a peanut butter nanaimo bar. I didn’t share. Bonus!

    3. There is a person in my running training group who is willing to do extra miles with me.

    4. Adrienne’s FB posting of the unicorns in Canada (and subsequent comments) have me snickering even now.

    5. Speaking of unicorns, the Cakespy cookbook is filled with them, as well as trompe l’oeil food concoctions. The family has an idea for a bakery called Trompe L’Oeil, in which we serve soups, bagels, salads, and other items all made out of sugar.

    6. I had a lovely visit with my uncle this past week.

    7. Someday, I will be done with homeschooling.

  15. Such fun to read so many fun kicks! Yeah for kickers 🙂

    1. Trip to the city yesterday to see Annie with our girls. Pure joy.
    2. Reading Tell the Wolves I’m Home. Amazing read.
    3. Skiing today at our small local mountain. Fresh snow and warm weather…
    4. The girls performance in their school’s lip sync on Friday night.
    5. That we are getting closer and closer to spring.
    6. That at least I can look forward to seeing Beyonce tonight (not a big Super Bowl fan!)
    7. Winter light through bare winter branches.

  16. Thanks, Denise. Intriguing.

    Allison, glad you’re feeling better. I’m so sorry you lost the foster child, but she was lucky to have you all while she did. I also hope she gets good care in the hands of her biological family.

    Farida, glad your visit with your uncle was good. I wish you luck with the homeschooling and with the public school. … How many miles are you and your running buddy running? Also, I would not share a peanut butter bar either.

    Stacey: My youngest would love to see Annie. I should look for it to come to Nashville. … I like winter light, too, but I think I’m ready for spring.

  17. Wow. Colin Sutherland’s work is gorgeous!

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