7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #364: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Tracy Subisak

h1 January 5th, 2014 by jules

Happy 2014, one and all!

It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means I invite a student or newly-graduated illustrator to visit 7-Imp and share artwork. Today, I welcome Tracy Subisak, who is (as noted at her site) a “goofy Midwestern girl living in the great Northwest.”

She’s here to share art, as well as tell us a bit about her work, so let’s get right to it …

(Click to enlarge)

Tracy: When I was little, I was an inventor. I drew and designed outfits and people from made-up lands and made elaborate drawings of mansion interiors for my friends that had things like hovering petting zoos and secret caves for comic books. I wanted to be a designer and chose to study industrial design (to me, the broadest design field) at University of Cincinnati. It’s a great field, but if you look through my sketchbook, it is full of people. I started drawing people a lot when I lived in Taiwan, post-graduation. I drew people almost every day on the subway {above}, drew characters of my friends, and wrote small blips of the funny or touching things they said or did. I kept these to myself, of course — my way of noting observations and stashing memories.

It wasn’t until last year when I took a children’s book illustration class from Vicki Jamieson, that I started to fly with my illustrations. I wanted to refine my Photoshop painting skills, but many people agreed that my traditional artwork has a lot of energy to it. From my studies and countless doodles of the people surrounding me, I adapted a style with loose line work and a splash of value. My favorite medium at the moment is watercolor and brush pen. I also enjoy making detailed sketches with a fine-tip Hi-Tec C.

(Click to enlarge)

You might be able to tell who my influences are. Some great storytellers to me are David Small, Quentin Blake, Kazu Kibuishi, Hayao Miyazaki, Roald Dahl and Leo Matsuda.

I am currently working on a story about a girl who lives on an air whale that is responsible for helping clean our air. I haven’t decided on the format yet, but perhaps it will be a young adult or middle grade graphic novel. I am interested in illustrating any type of book — picture book to chapter book, as long as I am telling a story. Lately, I love showing sequence. I think my loose sketching works well with showing the movement in a story.

I also have spent a lot of time traveling and have nearly finished my travel journal from my last trip to New Zealand. I like to show others how I see the world and insert some speculations on new creatures and how they adapt to their environments. I plan to travel again this year and hope to fill another journal with my adventures! I think it would be a great way to inspire kids and adults to go out into the world and explore it.

(Click to enlarge)

All artwork is copyright © 2013 by Tracy Subisak and posted here with her 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, first and foremost, it’s bitterly cold here in Tennessee, though not as bad as many other parts of the country, and I’m grateful for a roof over my head. I hope you all—and those you love—are staying warm.

2) I love Peter Gabriel’s music; I love Elbow’s music; and I particularly love Elbow’s cover of “Mercy Street,” which you can hear here (even if Gabriel’s cover of “Mirrorball” does nothing for me).

3) Did you hear this week that Kate DiCamillo was chosen as the new National Ambassador for Children’s Literature? It’s a good choice, indeed.

4) I saw this film, and it’s hard (as in, disturbing) to watch, but I found myself wondering: Is there anything Hugh Jackman can’t do? (I mean, I try to forget this, which I couldn’t stand for longer than about five minutes, but I’m sure his acting in it was fabulous, as always.)

5) It’s My Gillian and My David:

6) Speaking of … I saw My Gillian and My David in 2011 at the Ryman. I just finished a galley of a new children’s novel (hitting shelves in February, I believe), called A Snicker of Magic. It was written by Natalie Lloyd, who is from (and currently lives here in) Tennessee. I read it aloud with my daughters. We laughed. A lot. It’s got a cast of characters that really stuck with us. And I love this excerpt a whole heapin’ lot. The protagonist, a young girl, is talking to a former country music superstar. (Think Minnie Pearl.)

“I was fifty-seven years old when I set out for Nashville. I embroidered red roses on my favorite pair of cowboy boots. I put new strings on that magical guitar. And I lit out. I played on the sidewalks of Nashville for a time; that’s the only place I could play. I played for pennies and day-old coffee. I played through the storms and through the rain. Some people didn’t listen at all. Some people listened and told me I was no good. But I’ve always had a heap of determination caught up in me. So I kept on playing. And I played my way all the way to the stage at the Ryman.”

“What’s a Ryman?” I whispered.

Because the way she’d said the word made it sound like some dreamy, fog-covered castle.

“The Ryman is a place where people go to play music and to hear music. Before it was a music hall, it used to be a church. The pews are all still there. That building’s got stained-glass windows and beer-stained floors. There are thousands of prayers and songs caught in the bones of the walls. You can feel them—the prayers, the music—all around you whenever you sit down in that place. … I’ll tell ya’ll this: The Ryman is sacred. And the Ryman is wild. And when you find a place like that in this world, a place that is wild and sacred, you should treasure it.”

6½) I watched Season One (and that’s all I need to see) of American Horror Story. It was often such over-the-top camp (with serious pacing issues) that I wasn’t sure if I could make it to the end of the season. But let me tell you this: The first couple of episodes SCARED THE EVERLOVIN’ CUSS OUT OF ME.

The kick here is that, finally, I no longer have to leave on the light in the next room when I go to sleep.

7) Tracy told me I could pick images from her site to share, if I wanted. I like this:

If your head’s not way up in the clouds (or even if it is), let me know what YOUR kicks are this week.

15 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #364: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Tracy Subisak”

  1. Tracy’s work is lovely. I am especially intrigued by the whale story and the clouds are my official residence for my head.

    Jules – I love that quote about the Ryman, makes me want to embroider my boots.


    1. Leaning In
    2. New Year, New Start
    3. Blizzard without the power going out (very rare in these parts)
    4. Downton Abbey
    5. Still loving, “The Goldfinch”
    6. I agree with Jules. I feel safe and warm and feel very fortunate.
    7. My daughter did this on New Years Day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HK8wnMReLg
    I will use it as an inspiration throughout the year when I am not feeling very brave.
    p.s. Look for the girl in the pink surf shirt. It was 28 degrees out that day.

    Be brave my friends!

  2. Don’t know if I’ve ever done kicks before, but I have some to share!

    1) I got to spend several days with my 2-year-old niece in Arkansas. She has a rare form of muscular dystrophy and is developmentally delayed, but has been starting to stand up and take steps on her own! This is something we weren’t sure she’d ever be able to do. Such a blessing.

    2) I’m reading through YALSA’s Morris finalists, and am really enjoying DR. BIRD”S ADVICE FOR SAD POETS by Evan Roskos. http://evanroskos.com/books/

    3) It’s Oscar Buzz season, and I saw Alexander Payne’s newest movie NEBRASKA last night. Bruce Dern’s performance is amazing.

    4) Winter break will be one day longer thanks to sub-freezing temps in our corner of Tennessee!

    5) I cleaned out my bedroom closet for the first time in forever. Now have many books to sell at McKay!

    6) Looking forward to Broken Bells’ new album coming out in the next few weeks!

    7) Thankful for Jules and her awesome blog!

  3. Flying whales, yes. Intricate comics panels, double yes. Tracy is one to watch. Thanks for sharing, Jules.

    My kicks:
    1. Listening to Peter Gabriel’s first four albums
    2. Finally seeing Pixar’s BRAVE (really enjoyed it)
    3. Selling two science poems to an anthology
    4. Reading Gene Luen Yang’s BOXERS & SAINTS
    5. Taking a few days off from my day job
    6. Watching Rhode Island turn into Saskatchewan
    7. Writing this poem:

    Morning Walk

    Snow fell, fell all night.
    Now, no bird can tell
    its perch. Each pine
    is papered white
    as birch. Up ahead
    on our path, a cloud
    of cold vapor, itself
    a snow-shape, hides
    our whole woodpile,
    and turning to smoke,
    falls a frigid dust, falls
    as snow fell, all night.

    ©2014 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  4. Ooh yay for Tracy’s art. Maybe I will run into her some time. And yay for Vicki Jamison teaching her.
    Jules, I just watched, Les Mis, and Hugh Jackman was incredible. I want to watch AHS but I couldn’t get through the. First 10 min. Scary!
    Moira, yes, use, use Downton Abbey. Hope you’re staying warm.
    Angela, so good for your niece. What a blessing.
    My kicks:
    1. The New Year.
    2. Grand girls, all three, here for two nights. A wild rumpus ensued.
    3. Walking the Clackamas River New Year’s Day.
    4. Sunshine.
    5. The CYBILS announced
    6. Tea with a friend at a tucked away tea place, Smith Tea.
    7. My one little word for 2014: Believe. What’s you one little word?
    Have a great week.

  5. Good morning, Imps!

    Tracy Subisak: Nice to meet you. High-five for being inventive and observant. Best of luck with your forthcoming works! I love the sound of the eco-friendly whale and girl story. Keep us posted.

    Jules: A Snicker of Magic is on my to-read list. I’m happy to hear that it’s that good!

    Moira: Wowza to your polar bear daughter! Brrr.

    Angela F: Welcome aboard, and hello to your niece!

    Steve: Enjoy (or I hope you enjoyed) your days off.

    Jone: Believe is one of my favorite words. Great choice.

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) Writing
    2) Knowing
    3) Prepping
    4) Breathing
    5) Strawberries
    6) Walking

    Also, the channel called ION (ion television) is having a LEVERAGE marathon today, starting at 1 PM, starting with the first episode, so y’all should tune in. Smart, funny, drama, comedy, and, most of all, fun, Leverage is one of my all-time favorite shows.

  6. I am posting this separately because it might get eaten.

    Here’s the Leverage schedule on ion’s page:

    Jules and all:

    Matt Nathanson’s cover of The Everly Brothers song All I Have to Do is Dream:


  7. Hello, Kickers!

    What Steven Said: Tracy is a real find, Jules. I will be *dumbfounded* (dumbfounded) if the big wide world never hears more from her. Those pages from her NZ sketchbook may have been my favorites — especially the evergreen-eating bears, who (a) apparently have started to absorb the chlorophyll from all the needles and (b) can easily be mistaken by picnickers for moss-covered boulders. But all her work: very, very impressive range, and a high talent. Thanks so much for introducing us to her!

    Jules, we saw only the first couple of episodes of American Horror Story and they yes, rather freaked us out. Because they were so intense, we were surprised that the show has kept going and going… And now I want to go back again and binge-watch.

    (AND: majorly second your recommendation on Prisoners, which we watched last night. Narrative, emotional, and thematic complexity, handled deftly by all parties — what’s not to like?!?)

    Hi Moira — have had The Goldfinch sitting on my Kindle for a couple weeks now. A big Tartt fan here (also a big tart fan, but that’s another story, haha). Glad to get the in-progress thumbs-up!

    Hi there, Angela. Good for you for tackling the closet cleanout — I have heard that people do this but it just feels like such an alien practice to me. Like breathing frozen ammonia. 🙂

    Your “Morning Walk” poem, Steven, manages SO well to reproduce the soft sounds of a snowfallen forest. Thank you!

    Jone — hooray for rumpuses. Also: Clackamas. If my wordsound-loving self doesn’t get to live in emmaco’s Australia in a future life, I want him to live in the Pacific NW.

    Hey, LW! I have been meaning for MONTHS to tell you that I finally succumbed to Leverage‘s lure, thanks to (a) remembering the show’s excellent promos and (b) your relentless (and as it happens, fully justified) boostery. Heist + caper are among my favorite pop-culture genres, across all media, and I love the show. Thank you! (And thank Netflix.)

    Kicks here, hmm…

    1. Excellent holidays this year on almost every front.
    2. I posted this on FB a few minutes ago: it’s always nice to see goofy academic interest in time travel.
    3. Rediscovering the pleasures of really well-crafted computer games from the ’90s.
    4. Carl Sagan.
    5. I used to be bugged by the tick-tick-tick noise from a ceiling fan here in my home office, until realizing it sounds exactly like the tick-tick-tick of a grandfather clock. I’ve liked it ever since.
    6. Waking up on a Sunday morning and finding that my arm is draped over The Missus… and that she’s been awake for awhile, reading, and leaving my arm right there.
    7. Thanks to this week’s Sundays-with-7-Imp artist, I now know which writing implement I must have. That link Tracy provided — to a photo of the Hi-Tec C, on Wikipedia — was a convincer.

    Have a great week, all!

  8. JES: YES! I’m so very glad that you enjoyed Leverage. Thank you for giving it a chance and now giving it a ringing endorsement! Favorite characters? Episodes? Feel free to discuss anything Leverage with me. I’ll never tire of it.

    I will now use the phrase “relentless boostery” and, perhaps, “Clackamas” in the piece I’m currently writing…

    Time travel yay. Anyone want to discuss Doctor Who? Time for Twelve!

  9. Moira: I’d like some embroidered boots, too. Also, your daughter impresses me.

    ANGELA! … So glad you got to see your niece over the holidays. She’s a puddin’ head. Thanks for the book recommendation. I’m intrigued. Also, I wanna see Nebraska, and I’m glad to hear you recommend it. I’m very eager to hear the new Broken Bells CD, too. And now my kick #8 is that you’re also going to Shovels & Rope in February. And aw shucks, thanks for the last kick.

    Steven, perfect that I read this poem right now, as it’s snowing. (Relatively rare for Tennessee.)

    Jone, sounds like you had a great holiday. My one word right now is: PERMISSIONS. Finishing up soul-sucking, mind-numbing, very detailed permissions work for our book, but I’ll think about my word for the rest of the year.

    Little Willow, is your last kick blank on purpose? I love it. The mystery. … Thanks for the cover. I’m listening now.

    John: RIGHT? The opening credits nearly made me soil my pants from fear. So neat that you saw Prisoners just last night. Such good acting. Love the very end.

    I’m also fond of the word “boostery.” Also, I wish I had the ION channel.

    And now Matt’s song is over, and I’m done typing. What a great cover. Thanks, LW!

  10. Hi Everyone,
    love the art. Charmed by it in fact.
    Don’t have time tonight to check out all the links in the kicks, but I know they’ll be wonderful when I have time to savor them.
    I WON’T be watching American Horror Story. I can’t handle that sort of thing.

    My kicks this week would have been very different had my dearly loved Uncle Truitt from here in Los Angeles not passed away suddenly and tragically from influenza complications. He went to the ER feeling really ill yesterday morning and died this morning. We are all devastated. He was a remarkable man, a true servant of justice and love and kindness.

    I feel a renewed sense of urgency to carry on his legacy in these increasingly sorrowful times.

    I like Jone’s word for 2014: believe. Mine is hope. Hope for love, hope for kindness, hope for healing, hope for peace, hope for humanity’s evolution, hope for art and creativity.

    Thanks to Steven for the gorgeous poem.

    Thank you all for loving art and beauty and creativity and wanting to share about it here and in the world. I leave this blog and the kicks nurtured and encouraged and hopeful and believing each week.

  11. Sending strength to Allison and family. My thoughts are with you.

  12. Oh, Allison, I’m sorry to hear that. I know you’ll make all efforts to carry on his legacy, but I’m sorry for your loss right now. Big hug.

  13. I’m sorry to hear your sad news, Allison. Your words about hope are beautiful.

    Great art today, Jules!

    While you’re all grateful for your homes in the snowy weather, I’m grateful that we have shelter in our current heatwave. And aircon. I am normally very ambivalent about using it but it has made this past few days much easier.

    Angela, what a lovely kick about your niece. And I think cleaning cupboards is such a cathartic thing to do (which doesn’t mean I actually DO IT though)

    John I am honoured that you have picked Australia as your next life’s destination 🙂

    LW, I enjoyed the most recent Doctor Who episode, and though I will miss Matt Smith am trusting that the writers know what they are doing with the new Doctor!

  14. LW: I’m not bingewatching Leverage, just one episode a week on average. So I’m still in Season 1. Of the episodes I’ve seen so far, the one where they rob the bank — probably called “The Bank Job” — might be my favorite. It seemed a pivotal point in the series’ development: things went off much less smoothly, forcing them into revising tactics and even goals in media res so to speak. And the team got involved with and dependent on one another in interesting ways. And the ep’s payoff was very satisfying, in the way they ended up not just stinging the mark — the loudmouth blustery judge — as planned, but, well, putting a bow on it. (Especially the way certain of the bank’s other customers/employees ending up playing right along with the team.)

    Of course I’m talking about it like I was all Mr. Thinky-TV-Critic at the time I watched it, but no, this is all in retrospect. While watching, I was just having (slightly thinky) fun. 🙂

    Allison, so very sorry. I have an aging uncle who sounds something like yours and can readily imagine how difficult and off-kilter life would (will) be in a like situation. All condolences your way.

  15. That does it: We’re all flying to Emmaco to hang out with her and the heat. We can BABYSIT. That’s the ticket!

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