7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #323: Featuring Leslie Evans

h1 March 24th, 2013 by jules

“Crab apple, too, is short and wide,
its fragrant flowers small and white.”

Like a lot of folks right now in this country, I’m eager for warmer weather and some Spring. And since this past week marked the first official day of Spring, I can’t help but share some art today from Spring Blossoms (Charlesbridge, February 2013), written by author and poet Carole Gerber and illustrated by Leslie Evans. And Leslie’s popping in today to say a bit about the illustrations.

This picture book comes from the two women who also created Winter Trees and Leaf Jumpers, as Leslie mentions below. In fact, Winter Trees was featured here at 7-Imp way back in 2008.

In Spring Blossoms, readers follow two young girls and a dog through Gerber’s rhyming text as they celebrate Spring “bursting out all over” and the warm weather. The girls are running and playing outdoors, admiring the trees’ blossoms. They stop to appreciate what they see, including white dogwoods, crab apples, white pines, red maples, and more.

Evans renders these illustrations in linoleum block prints with watercolor, collage, and some digital work. Here she is to say a bit more about it:

Leslie: As with the previous books in this series, Leaf Jumpers and Winter Trees, the illustrations in Spring Blossoms are a combination of hand-colored linoleum block print, collage, and digital. I used a more traditional approach in my previous series of seasonal books, beginning with Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic with poems by Steven Schnur. Those illustrations were black line linocut prints with watercolor and a very graphic look. I didn’t want the heavy black outline around the leaves in the new book, so cut them out as solid shapes and then hand-rolled mixed ink colors directly on the block, using very small brayers for smaller solid areas and lines.

As some areas were very detailed and overlapped with many colors, I made several prints and collaged certain elements, such as leaves and blossoms, separately. When I received the scanned art back from my publisher, I also made some digital adjustments to the images.

My niece Maeve, her friend Isabella, and my dog Clyde were the models for the Spring Blossoms book.

I thank Leslie for visiting (one day I want to have a 7-Imp breakfast interview with her so that we can all see lots more of her art), and here are some more illustrations from the book. Enjoy.

“Trees, so bare and plain in winter,
are dressed up for their yearly show.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

“Look at all their buds and blossoms! / Some are pale; some, really bright.
Proudly wearing nature’s colors, spring blossoms sparkle in the light.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

“White dogwood wears a frosty crown.
Its limbs spread wider than its height.”

“The white oak bears two kinds of blooms. / Male flowers droop. They’re greenish gold.
The female blooms are small and red. / Both open as new leaves unfold.”

SPRING BLOSSOMS. Text copyright © 2013 by Carole Gerber. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Leslie Evans. Spreads reproduced by permission of the publisher, Charlesbridge, Watertown, MA.

* * * * * * *

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’m going to make this Tina Fey appearance kicks 1 to 7, since it made me laugh so hard (at one point, in particular).

I’m also being brief, because I’m reading a really good (thus far) novel from a debut author—this one, pictured below (that wonderful cover sucked me in at first)—so I’m going to get back to that. A good book is a good reason to not linger really long in my own kicks, yes?

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #323: Featuring Leslie Evans”

  1. Pretty spring pictures, a funny Tina Fey link that works in Australia (often they are hosted in US only sites), and a book recommendation…think you did pretty well today, Jules!

    1. The new shower works great! Although the showers at work are very nice, it is good to be able to shower at home again ☺
    2. A satisfying week a work where I felt like I was able to learn useful things and also help people out
    3. And the colleagues I helped bought me some flowers to say thank-you! So sweet!
    4. Journal article proofs received, checked and sent back
    5. Picnic with family today to celebrate a couple of birthdays
    6. I love that my grandmother loves politics despite being 91 and thus having watched more parliament live than most people – she had a great day this week when there was a threatened leadership spill of our PM
    7. I have been tired so cut myself some slack and had plenty of sleeping and reading time this weekend

  2. Yay, Spring!
    We had snow this week but it was the magical, pretty kind that makes everything white but school doesn’t get cancelled.
    I love that Zebra Forest cover. I am a fan of judging books by their covers.
    Jules- Tina, as usual, awesome
    emmaco- I’m so glad your shower is working. You need that hydro-therapy.

    1. Little League tryouts (indoors because of the snow). I can’t wait for the games to start.
    2. an accounting mistake to our benefit
    3. Saw Dar Williams perform last night
    4-7. My wonderful family
    Have a great Springy week all.

  3. We lucky Californians are deeply into our spring. It started in January. The botany geek in me was thrilled with the technical specificity of Leslie’s illustrations and the printmaker me was awed by her beautiful technique. Her description of her technique set my brain whirring with ideas.
    My kicks were all yesterday:
    I gave a talk about where ideas come from to smart SCBWI-ers,
    Afterwards I saw an even smarter play called Fallaci by Lawrence Wright at the Berkeley Rep. Catch it if you can!
    Then dinner was roasted sunchokes and artichokes with Meyer Lemon aioli.

  4. Emmaco, I’m very glad you had a good week and are taking time to rest. I didn’t realize your shower was broken (if you’d told us, my addled brain had forgotten), but I’m glad it’s fixed. My eight-year-old has started taking showers, not baths, and seems to have inherited my tendency to stand in very hot water for a very long time. … Congrats on the journal articles!

    Moira: Pretty snow. Will I ever see that again in the South, I wonder? Here’s hoping you get warm baseball weather soon.

    Ashley, I wish I could have heard that talk. What are roasted sunchokes? I have never heard of such a thing but am very curious now.

  5. I just wanted to give a quick shout out to Matt Roeser for that cool Zebra Forest book cover design. http://www.mattroeser.com/

  6. Fly-by kicking! Good afternoon, Imps!

    1 Booked a play
    2 and got to assist at auditions for other members of my stage family!
    3 Booked a film
    4 Visits
    5 Making people smile
    6 Writing
    7 Less than two weeks til musical cast reunion and one night only performance!

    Jules Health update, please. How are ya?

    Emmaco I praise the inventor of the shower.

  7. Moira, thanks! I enjoyed looking at his site.

    LW: Feeling great, and you’re considerate to ask! May I ask what play (kick #1)? And, ooh, #7 sounds so fun.

  8. Perfect timing, we’ve got blooms everywhere here – even though its still cold and rainy!

    Yay Jules, glad you’re feeling better! I’m behind on my reading let me know how you like that book when you’re done.

    emmaco – a working shower is a wonderful thing. Your grandmother sounds so cool!

    Moira – Dar Williams and Little League tryouts sounds like a great week.

    ashley – jealous of the California spring.

    LW – congrats on the booking! PS, I have a friend looking to sublet her 1 bedroom near The Grove – let me know if you know anyone looking (its pet friendly).

    My quick kicks:
    1) Deep into my West Wing obsession, I had fun Monday meeting with my state reps on a work lobby day about a bill that’s important to my work. (I really met with their assistants because of course the reps were in meetings!)
    2) Reading Diane Keaton’s Then Again. I love Diane Keaton.
    3) Pedicures and wine with a friend after work, good to catch up and relax all at once.
    4) Playing in a March Madness pool – I really don’t follow basketball, but its fun anyway and is a fundraiser for my friend’s daughter’s soccer team.
    5) Interesting coffee date yesterday.
    6) Dinner with friends last night at place that does Louisiana cajun food – great food and great company.
    7) Omelet this morning made with onions, sharp cheddar, and oyster mushrooms.
    7.5) Soccer later.

    Hope everyone has a colorful week!

  9. So happy to see Leslie Evans’s spring-beautiful artwork featured here! Thank you for sharing it. Pink pink pink! I love this new style as much as I love the style she used it our books.
    My kicks? All of the folks who joined me as fellow panelists and presenters yesterday at the Eric Carle to talk kidlit and Common Core. I learned so much!

  10. Rachel, will do (on the book). May you all raise lots of money for your friend’s daughter’s soccer team. …. Re #5: “Interesting” good? Or “interesting” bad? The former, I hope.

    Leslie: Wish I could have heard that talk. Glad it went well.

Leave a Comment

Should you have trouble posting, please contact sevenimp_blaine@blaine.org. Thanks.