7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #347: Featuring Jamie Hogan

h1 September 8th, 2013 by jules

Happy Sunday to all. Illustrator Jamie Hogan is visiting today to talk about her latest illustrated book, written by April Pulley Sayre and released back at the beginning of this year. It’s called Here Come the Humpbacks! (Charlesbridge, February 2013), and it tells the story of a humpback whale calf and its mother, as well as the dangers they face during migration.

The image above is from one of Jamie’s sketchbooks. It has nothing to do with April’s book (way more on that below); I just like it.

Let’s get to it, since Jamie talks a bit about creating the illustrations for this book and what’s next for her. (I wish we were chatting in person on the beautiful island where she lives in Maine.)

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Jamie: I have a thing for seven. Is it cosmic or coincidental that my last 7-imp [visit] was in July of 2007?

It so happens I’ve now illustrated seven books. A couple of them have been published in other countries, too. No small thrill for one who lives on a rock about three miles around.


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The main thing is, I live on an island in Maine. Three miles out to sea, in fact. I began drawing pastels of seascapes and boats after moving here 21 years ago. Getting to the ferry on time punctuates my life.

I was ecstatic to be asked to illustrate April Pulley Sayre’s story about a humpback whale and her calf, Here Come the Humpbacks!. I learned so much doing research for the book. It also meant using a lot of blue pastel — and dreaming about whales right out in the water beyond my cluttered studio.


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When I take the ferry to Portland, there are always tankers in Casco Bay.

I drew them for the story, since shipping lanes are one of the hazards for humpback whale migration.


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Here’s one of the sketches I provided. I typically draw around the text areas in pencil. I waited almost two months for approval of sketches, because they needed to be verified by marine scientists for accuracy. That’s non-fiction for you!


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I transferred my sketches to a sanded pastel paper –in this case, a deep red. I let some of the red show through in order to create a color vibrancy with all the blue.


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With soft pastels I’m able to layer over colors, like painting with pigment.


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I left the jelly fish for last! Here’s the final illustration, in which the humpbacks travel many miles — over trash and turtles.


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I worked on the cover illustration absolutely last. I showed seven sketches, of course! This was my favorite. I liked the whale being too big for the book jacket.


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The publishers liked this one best:


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They asked that both the mother and calf appear on the cover, so I did this revision and added a lobster boat on the back.


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Here’s the final book jacket cover, designed by Martha Sikemma at Charlesbridge:


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All during this time, which was about six months, I also was drawing in a sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project 2013 as a fun alternative to my deadline. I drew people and places in Portland, such as Kirsten Cappy, below, sitting pretty in front of a Portland restaurant, Bresca.

She’s also the whiz behind Curious City, who helped me plan a really fun book launch that included a 40-foot inflatable humpback whale, named Istar. Istar just barely fit in the Portland Public Library’s auditorium. This is Curious City intern, Delany Honda, making sure everything is ready.


(Photo by Greta Rybus)

It was truly awesome.


(Photo by Greta Rybus)

I illustrated cards for a migration game that went all around the room, in which kids pretend to be a baby whale going on the journey that happens in the book.

Should I be surprised that kids really like blowing bubbles like baby whales do?


(Photo by Greta Rybus)

The highlight of my summer was finally going on a whale watch in Nova Scotia. And we saw humpback whales! I gave a copy of my book to Petit Passage’s friendly nature guide, Suzanne, who immediately shared it with this family on board for the ride back to port. Absolutely made my entire YEAR.

Now that I’m back in my studio, I’m just starting on another book for Charlesbridge, this one titled John Muir Wrestles a Waterfall by Julie Danneberg. It takes place in Yosemite. All I’ve done so far are preliminary thumbnail sketches, enough to need more reference. I’ve gotten twelve books from the library about him and, yesterday, watched John Muir in the New World, a pretty cool documentary. I had my neighbor, Peter, pose for me out in my daughter’s little pine clubhouse in the backyard.

She’s sixteen now and has no use for it, but it suddenly felt to me like just the right spot to be unplugged. Maybe I’ll do my sketches out there!

I grew up in the White Mountains and visited Yosemite during my years living in San Francisco. I’ve worked before with the designer for this book, Whitney Leader-Picone (a California native), on Nest, Nook & Cranny (Charlesbridge, 2010) by Susan Blackaby and A Warmer World (Charlesbridge, 2012) by Caroline Arnold. We have fun together, and I am eager to draw tall pines and waterfalls!


HERE COME THE HUMPBACKS! Copyright © 2013 by April Pulley Sayre. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Jamie Hogan. Published by Charlesbridge, Watertown, MA. All images here used with permission of Jamie Hogan.

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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 * * *

Sorry to be brief, but my seven kicks today are wrapped up in the fact that it’s my husband’s birthday this weekend, and we’ve been celebrating. I was so busy celebrating I almost didn’t get to this post. (Blogging should never get in the way of life, mind you, so I made sure to celebrate first, but I’d also never let my kickers down. So, here I am. In the nick of time.)

What are YOUR kicks this week?

Quick note: Here’s a Publishers Weekly article about the fundraiser author/illustrator Joe McKendry and his wife, Susan, put together shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing. Many artists have signed on to participate. In case anyone is interested in contributing, all the info is at that link.

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15 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #347: Featuring Jamie Hogan”

  1. Love seeing Jamie’s work, especially since I just returned from Maine. Didn’t see any whales, but learning about her book is the second best thing.

    Happy Birthday to Blaine!


  2. These books sound fascinating as well as beautiful. And I love Jamie’s studio!

    I hope your celebratory weekend is going great, Jules!

    My kicks:

    1. Election day here yesterday. Although I’m not happy with the outcome, the actual voting was a pleasure as always, due in part I’m convinced to our compulsory voting. Basically everyone in the whole neighbourhood turns up at the local school where there is a sausage sizzle and bake sale. Brilliant!
    2. Lunch with family where my mum & stepfather got to see Rowan’s beautiful big smile for the first time
    3. The Brisbane Writer’s Festival was on this week, and I made it to three sessions, two of which Rowan attended – and between us my husband and I only missed around ten minutes.
    4. The panels were great.
    5. I actually had time to make dinner from a recipe tonight, albeit a simple one. Mac and cheese! From a magazine article on American diner food as this dish is something most Australians would never have had, and I’ve never made it before.
    6. Rowan has just fallen asleep so I am leaving my kicks here to go get my sleep too :)


  3. Happy birthday, Blaine!

    I love so much about this post–Jamie’s illustrations, the Sketchbook Project (reading 7-Imp all these years has made me think that maybe I should try keeping a sketchbook for a while), and that lovely photo of the girl amazed by the whale. Excellent all around! I love, too, that they fact-check nonfiction illustrations. It never occurred to me that they would.

    Some kicks:
    1. Yesterday I went to the dollar theatre with friends and watched The Heat, which was opso, so much funnier than I expected it to be.
    2. And then we went out to dinner.
    3. I got a new toy for my cats, who are kind of elderly, and they played with it like wobbly kittens. We had a lot of fun with that.
    4. I made a delicious peach cobbler this week, which I served with vanilla ice cream I also made. It was perfect.
    5. I am getting the carpets in the lbrary professionally cleaned today (right now!), which is something I’ve been working for a year to get done, so WHEW!
    6. The nights are coolimg off, the days are shorter but not yet short, and there were a bunch of yellow leaves on my car when I went outside this morning.
    7. I got my first bag of apples of the season at the apfarmer’s market yesterday.


  4. Love Jamie’s work, especially her illustrations in Blackaby’s work.
    Jules, happy birthday to Blaine. Chuck’s bday is today.
    Hi Jama.
    Emmacco, how wonderful you parents go to meet baby Rowan.
    Adrienne, peach cobbler, yum.
    My kicks:
    1. Students arrived on Wednesday.
    2. Oldest grandgirl spent the night Friday.
    3. Shopping with oldest grandgirl.
    4. Reading.
    5. Writing group.
    6. Fresh tomatoes
    7. Cooler evenings.
    Have a great week.


  5. Lovely! I especially like the photo showing Jamie’s neighbor in her daughter’s pine clubhouse.

    Some of my kicks:
    1) Amazing girl scout trip to Atlanta seeing the mosaiculture “topiaries” http://www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org/events-classes/events/imaginary-worlds
    2) Ordering and getting Leonard Marcus’ THE MAN WHO COULD NOT STOP DRAWING, RANDOLPH CALDECOTT
    3) Riding a smaller duplicate of the London Eye in Atlanta yesterday (it’s a traveling exhibit going from city ot city.)
    4) Time with old friends
    5) Meeting deadlines
    6) daughter’s creativity: attaching wood blocks to the wall with carpenters tape to create a vertical, stair step house for some of her small animals.
    7) Our new treehouse library finally opened after renovations and it’s so lovely.

    Have a great week everyone and thanks Jules and Jamie.


  6. Good morning, Imps!

    Hello to Jamie and the lovely array of critters. I too like the picture of the little girl amazed by the inflatable whale.

    Happy birthday, Blaine! :)

    Happy birthday, Chuck! :)

    emmaco: Sleep well.

    Adrienne: Hug the cats for me, please!

    Lori: The stair step house sounds awesome, as does the treehouse library.

    1) New year
    2) Yes
    3) No
    4) How it’s done
    5) Sent and submitted
    6) Gif-ted
    7) Amelioration


  7. Loved this posting, so jealous of Jamie’s island life. Her illustrations are lovely, I especially liked the gorgeous underwater migration spread, even with the trash! It’s so tranquil and fluid looking. What a fun book launch, that photo of the little girl’s wide-eyed amazement is breathtaking.

    Happy birthday to Blaine! Happy celebrating Jules!

    Hi Jama!

    emmaco – how wonderful Rowan smiled for your parents. How did the mac n cheese come out? Glad you’re getting sleep.

    Adrienne – that peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream sounds amazing. Have not seen The Heat yet, but its on my list.

    Jone – fresh tomatoes – yum.

    Lori – that stair step sounds pretty cool, as does the tree house library.

    LW – your kicks are more cryptic than usual this week, but I really like the sound of kick #4.

    My quick kicks:
    1) A fun brunch with friends.
    2) Saw “In A World” and really really liked it.
    3) The Portland Thorns winning the NWSL championship!
    4) Peyton Manning’s 7 touchdown passes.
    5) Made cinnamon vanilla monkey bread this week – it was a big, yummy, gooey, sticky success.
    6) Taking Cole to the river to swim.
    7) A fun night of wine and cheese with a friend.

    Have a lovely week everyone!


  8. I’m so excited to see Jamie’s beautiful images here today. I’m a big fan of Jamie and a big fan of humpbacks.
    Jules-Happy Birthday to your husband. I hope you’re all having fun.
    emmaco- It cracks me up to hear about Mac n Cheese being an exotic dish. It’s a pretty regular item at our house. Lobster Mac n Cheese is popular at the restaurants around here.
    Adrienne -Nothing beats those fresh apples. I won’t eat those sawdust tasting ones available in the Summer around here. I’ve become an apple snob.
    Jone -I hope you like shopping better than me. I’m sure it was good since you had your girl with you.
    Lori -Hooray for meeting deadlines!
    LW -Sent and submitted sounds good.
    Rachel – Mmmmmonkey bread
    Kicks
    1. Kids had a fairly smooth transition to back to school. Although we’re a bit tired from the early wake up time.
    2. Bought a dress despite hating trying things on.
    3. Walking
    4. Making left turns in the post-summer season is so easy.
    5. Coffee
    6. Cleaning out closets
    7. Getting ready for more company
    Have a great week.


  9. a fly-by; (needed at Mom’s house.)

    Oh, I’m so intrigued by the blue pastel work atop the RED paper. (!) Had never seen that before. Jamie Hogan’s drawings/book inspired me to take a ferry ride and whale watching. Thx!

    One quick KICK to share: (scene from an corny, overwritten/acted movie “Step Up 4 Revolution” that never-the-less has some great dance sequences; the mob concepts, art direction and choreography are all wow-some.) In this scene, a new dancer is being courted to join a flash mob dance crew by letting her experience one of their surprise events in a modern art museum:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGyi3-gcml8

    I thought it was cool. For what it’s worth.

    Have a good week Jules, kickers et al.


  10. I’ll be back in the morning, kickers.


  11. Rachel, I liked the mac and cheese but thought it was slightly bland – I used a strong cheese but will bring out the big guns next time!

    I had never heard of monkey bread before but it looks DELICIOUS.

    Lori, a treehouse library? As in, a library in a treehouse???


  12. It’s a joy to see fellow Charlesbridge (and MAINE) illustrator, Jamie Hogan, here on 7-imp! Love here technique and colour palette. Congratulations on your new book!


  13. Yesterday got away from me, you all, but I’m here now.

    Jama, I hope you had a great trip.

    Emmaco, get as much sleep as you possibly can! And what was in your macaroni dish? Anything special, I mean? My favorite macaroni dish has mozzarella, cheddar, AND gouda. Mmm. Gouda. … .So special, I’m sure, that moment with Rowan, your mom, and your stepdad.

    Adrienne, your library, given all the cosmetic changes you’re making (as well as the sturdy, inner changes) is gonna be beautiful.

    Jone, happy birthday to Chuck! Hope school is going well so far.

    Lori, where is the treehouse library? Your house? I love Marcus’s book. I have a feature to write for BookPage about that and two other books. Gotta get on it.

    Okay, Little Willow, where’s John? You did it again with your pithy, graceful kicks. I like that you have “no” for a kick. Saying no can be good, but it gets such a bad rap.

    Rachel, what a good week. I loved In a World, too. Wasn’t it fun?

    Moira, we seem to feel the same about shopping for clothes. Congrats on snagging a dress. …Glad back-to-school went well.

    Denise: Neat dance sequences! Why have I never heard of these movies? Have fun at your mom’s.

    Hi, Hazel!


  14. emmaco & jules – mac n cheese is on the menu at many many restaurants here in Portland. One of the best I’ve found is at Savoy Tavern http://www.savoypdx.com/ they make theirs with white cheddar cheese. Growing up the boxed kind made with Velveeta was a favorite.

    The monkey bread was super easy to make.

    Denise – I LOVE the original Step Up movie, and will watch it anytime it comes on tv. I haven’t watched any of the others yet, but since they use so many of the SYTYCD kids I think I need to remedy that.

    Jules – I went with 4 friends to see In A World – we were laughing louder than anyone else in the theater. It was a lot of fun.


  15. wow, I am so delighted by these comments and kickers!
    Lori, I MUST SEE the tree house library! That first sketchbook cover with the owl was a whole sketchbook of treehouses I found in the wilds of the island, and many in plain sight. I am percolating a picture book story set somewhere in a treehouse land, methinks. All of it fueled now by seeing the Atlanta Botanical Garden link, thanks also to Lori. How blessed can one kicker be? cheers to all.


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