7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #520: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, James Serafino

h1 February 5th, 2017 by jules


It’s the first Sunday of the month, dear Imps, which means I have a student or newly-graduated illustrator. Today, it’s James Serafino, who graduated from the School of Visual Arts and tells me that children’s books are his primary passion in life and that he loves to share and learn and talk about them as much as possible.

Let’s get right to it, and I thank James for sharing his artwork.



James: I’ve always known I’m an artist. That’s the easy part. As a kid, I taught myself to draw by coping Calvin and Hobbes and Jim Lee’s X-Men. I started out tracing them and tracing them until I could do it freehand (way before I knew what freehand was). By the time I got to the School of Visual Arts, I knew I was an illustrator. And by the time I graduated, I knew that I only cared about picture books.


(Click to enlarge)



At school, I discovered that I am a storyteller. Story is my art. I thought I was a painter, but I was not. There was never enough room on the canvas to fit everything I wanted to paint. All of my ideas are actually a hundred ideas, and the story is what brings them all together.




I think the picture book is the perfect art form. It is everything; there is nothing a picture book can’t be. Where else can you be serious and silly all at once? You can be powerful and meaningful on one page and downright ridiculous on the next, and the story is only better for it. I love that they are important. I love that they are fun. I love that I feel like I am reaching out to the future, and I love that in doing so, I spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how to fit raccoons into Victorian garb. They never sit still.


(Click second image to enlarge)


What I love best is telling people that I am a children’s book illustrator. They always get excited and start remembering THAT ONE BOOK that has always been a part of them, even if they had forgotten. Picture books create meaning and connection that last a lifetime. They shape us more than we can know. There is no more powerful art experience than story time with your child. It is more important than any painting in any museum. I’ve stood in awe of the Sistine Chapel; I’d rather be in bed with a book.



All artwork used by permission of James Serafino.

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 * * *

Thank you, James!

1) A lunch date on Thursday with my oldest.

2) This interview with John Lewis.

3) Ordered this. All proceeds go to the ACLU, and I love the image.

4) Thank you, MoMA.

5) Live music.

6) I found a mug (and got one for a friend) that says “DO NOT TAUNT HAPPY FUN BALL.” Only fellow Saturday Night Live geeks will understand how much I love it. (Late ’80s: Best cast ever. No argument.)

7) Pearl:


What are YOUR kicks this week?

11 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #520: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, James Serafino”

  1. Hello, Imps!

    James, one of these images is DIRECTLY related to something I’m working on, so I’ll take that as a good sign and give you my thanks. Also, kudos for this sentence: “I spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how to fit raccoons into Victorian garb.” 🙂

    Jules: I wasn’t familiar with that sketch, so I just looked it up. Fun times. More importantly, thank you for supporting good causes and good people.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Being calm
    2) Being forgiving
    3) Attempting
    4) Completing
    5) Listening to others
    6) Listening to music
    7) Listening to myself

  2. James, so glad you discovered picture books. I wish you well in your future pursuits.
    Jules, I love that MOMA switched their paintings. Hooray for lunch dates.
    LW, calm and forgiving and listening to music and self…much needed these days.
    My kicks:
    1. Dinner with friends.
    2. Poetry postcards.
    3. The Hidden Life of Trees.
    4. World Peace Postcards.
    5. Lunch with a fourth grader.
    6. Music.
    7. Writing.
    Have a great week.

  3. Little Willow, I still don’t have the Elbow album and MUST FIX THAT. Have you listened?

    Jone: I had to look that book up (The Hidden Life of Trees), and ooooooh. I’m intrigued.

  4. Jules: Get the album! It’s lovely!

  5. Thanks for sharing your work james, I really love the Much Ado About Puffin spread, and the child feeding the animals, and Penelope Weathervane’s comment on her second thoughts.

    Jules – that print by Matthew Cordell is lovely, and then I saw the art from WISH and was reminded how much I love that book and artwork. Hooray for lunch with the oldest, and old SNL skits. (That was a great cast.)

    LW – Listening, being and attempting are wonderful kicks.

    Jone – yay for dinner with friends, poetry postcards and writing and music.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Read Liane Moriarty’s “Big Little Lies” in prep to watch the new HBO miniseries. Juicy quick read.
    2) Laughing out loud at Melissa McCarthy on SNL.
    3) Started watching “Suits” and 3 episodes in I am hooked.
    4) Productive work meetings.
    5) Music mixes while I work, been partial to Andra Day and Etta James and John Legend lately.
    6) Re-painted the guest bedroom, it feels fresher already, and I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with finishing a home-improvement project.
    7) Daisy in her new Blueboys hoodie. Keeps her warm and looking cute at the same time.
    7.5) Small victories. Brave lawyers. Hope.

    Have a great week Imps!

  6. Jules, I hadn’t heard this about MoMA, and am so glad of it. Nor had I heard of Hidden Life of Trees, Jone – it looks really interesting!

    Some kicks:
    1. These wonderful illustrations! I can already imagine future adults looking back at James Serafino’s books with gratitude.
    2. The judicial branch giving me a little hope for our system of checks and balances.
    3. The possibility that the words, “Frederick Douglass…is being recognized more and more” will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    4. Journeying through the delicious pages of Charles Darwin’s Around-the-World Adventure, a picture book by Jennifer Thermes.
    5. Going out for a bite to eat last night, and having a hard time choosing among all the little places from around the world in my beloved NYC.
    6. Remembering what a full sleep cycle is like after meeting a recent deadline.
    7. Reading Frederick Douglass’s perfect testament to the need for literacy: “knowledge unfits a child to be a slave.” So, yes, in a sense he is still alive. 🙂

  7. Rachel: Brave lawyers, indeed! Also, yes, MCarthy was a HOOT, but the Totino’s skit made me laugh so hard. I have a fondness for the one that came before it about two years ago, I guess it was. Love it when SNL does social commentary like that. (I read today that this is the THIRD Totino’s skit, but I only remember one other one?) …. What color did you paint the bedroom?

    Hi Carin! Long time, no see. Congrats on meeting your deadline, and I love your last kick (in particular).

    I hope you all have a good week. Hang in there. Solidarity. Rise up!

  8. HELLO! 😀


    1. Goblin, the Korean TV drama
    2. My cousins
    3. Books! New book releases!
    4. My brothers
    5. Travel
    6. New Scholastic Asia – Philippine Board on Books for Young People project! Manuscripts to be critiqued by Barry Cunningham!
    7. Gifts, hehehe

  9. Tarie! Long time, no see to you too! Your last kick is cryptic, but that’s okay, because a little mystery in this life is good. Your sixth kick is exciting. Big hug to you.

  10. OH! I found your blog after a search of Karina Schaapman. I am devouring all your posts and adding to my list of books to check out from the library. Then, to seal the deal; your final kick from this post! My kids think Garnet is the best mom, but I’m with Pearl!

  11. Hi Lori! I love Garnet too. Pearl, I think, is flawed and a bit more complicated (and, therefore, a bit more interesting), but Garnet? She’s pretty fabulous.

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