What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Laura Dronzek and LeUyen Pham

h1 May 23rd, 2014 by jules

Illustration from LeUyen Pham’s A Piece of Cake


Illustration from Phyllis Rowand’s It Is Night,
illustrated by Laura Dronzek


This morning over at Kirkus, I write about Maira Kalman’s newest picture book, Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything (Nancy Paulsen Books, January 2014). That link is here.

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Last week, I wrote about LeUyen Pham’s A Piece of Cake (Balzer + Bray, May 2014) and Phyllis Rowand’s It Is Night (Greenwillow Books, April 2014), illustrated by Laura Dronzek. (As you may have read in the column, these are new illustrations from Dronzek; the book was originally both written and illustrated by Rowand in 1953.) That column is here, and today I follow up with some art from each book.

LeUyen also sent a few pieces of early digital art for the book, which ended up getting discarded, and I will include below what she wrote about creating the art. (I didn’t have room for all of her comments at the Kirkus piece last week.)


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Phyllis Rowand’s It Is Night,
illustrated by Laura Dronzek:


(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


LeUyen Pham’s A Piece of Cake:


LeUyen: As to sketches, I didn’t do any. This was one of those VERY rare times when I worked straight into the computer. The logistics of the story actually took much longer to figure out than rendering the book itself. I sat with my brother, who is an engineer, and we made a chart to figure out who would get what, to make sure that the same object wasn’t given back to the same animal, and the order in which it had to occur [all had] to make sense. We had drawn what looked to be about 25 Venn diagrams when we were all done. Can you believe initially I had something like ten animals in mind? Narrowing it down to four was hard.

[Ed. Note: Below are some pieces of art from the first version of the book, which LeUyen sent to her editor. “I think she bought it straight off,” she adds, “and then I sent the finals something like two weeks later.”]:

Old endpapers
(Click to enlarge)


Some Final Art from LeUyen’s Book


“Farther on, Mouse met Cow, who was surrounded by bottles of milk. …”
(Click to enlarge)

“These bees won’t leave me alone! If only I had something to swat them away. …”
(Click to enlarge)

One more note: LeUyen is having a book launch for A Piece of Cake on June 1st in San Francisco. Here’s the info. She is sending limited edition, signed bookplates for the new picture book to local stores to put in their copies of the book for people who contact her through her blog, Facebook page, or website and then buy the book through their local, independent bookseller. Here’s how to do that. She’s also raffling off a hand-sewn mouse and bird ornament online. Here’s the low-down, and here’s a quick look at the dolls:

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IT IS NIGHT. Text copyright © 1953 by Phyllis Rowand Wallace; renewed 1981 by Nina L. Stagakis. Illustrations © 2014 by Laura Dronzek. Published by Greenwillow Books, New York. Illustrations here reproduced by permission of the publisher.

A PIECE OF CAKE. Copyright © 2014 by LeUyen Pham. Published by Balzer + Bray, New York. All images here reproduced by permission of LeUyen Pham.

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