Jules: This week we’re pleased to feature Australian illustrator Trudy White, who is probably best known for the internal illustrations she did in Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006). Trudy’s latest book is called Could You? Would You?, first published in Australia in 2006 but just released in the U.S. by Kane/Miller (yes, we know we featured a Kane/Miller book last week as well as an Australian illustrator, and we try to mix things up here at 7-Imp, but how can we pass up the opportunity to feature both Julie Vivas and Trudy White, even if one after the other?). Could You? Would You? is a book of questions that, as Mindy pointed out in her review at propernoun.net, is a great title to use as a prompt for encouraging children to write — or to just explore and wonder about the world around them. Pictured above is the first illustration from the book, the “Could you fall asleep with all these animals? Would you wake up early or sleep in late?” page. Pictured below is a spread from the book, both sent from Trudy.
I have played with this book with my 3.5 year old, and — while some questions were a bit too sophisticated for her age — most of them really made her stop and think, and even older children will likely jump to answer each question with curiosity and enthusiasm. It’s that kind of book. And this is definitely one of those books that transcends the children’s lit label; a lot of adults, particularly of the meditative, I-wonder-if slant, would enjoy this one. Trudy’s spare drawings are both graceful and sprightly and possess her signature whimsical, relaxed style . . . As her site states, “Trudy White likes to work with pencils, watercolour, ink, nib pens, brushes, biro, computer graphics programs, collage, acrylic paint, oil paint, and textas, in books, on small pages, on large rolls of paper, on canvas and on wood. She also likes to make things out of clay and plasticine. She writes in longhand and on a computer. At the moment she is interested in owls, typography, languages and strawberries.”
Trudy suggested that we include a selection of questions from Could You? Would You? and let kicks-listers — any of you who are perhaps inclined to do so — post responses to any or all of them this week (as well as list your kicks, too, we hope). I love that excellent idea. And if you answer the questions, your name will also get put into a virtual hat, and SEVEN OF YOU CAN WIN A COPY OF THE BOOK!!! (courtesy of Kane/Miller). It really is a fun, thought-provoking (by its very nature) title, and I particularly recommend it for teachers and school librarians (who work with students of any age, in fact, from elementary to high school).
- How would someone find you in a crowd?
- If your house had a secret room, what would be in there?
- Where do you like to walk from your house?
- How will you change as you grow up?
- What sort of animal would you like to be?
So, answer any or all (and, yes, even though you’re adults, you can answer that fourth question — still applies!), and your name goes in the drawing. Thanks to Kane/Miller for that . . . (and, as always, you’re welcome to leave your kicks in addition to your answers to those questions — if you wanna play, that is. We know some or all of the questions might require some contemplation, so hey, you can leave your kicks and then come back and answer).
And wait! There’s more (thanks, Trudy!) . . . Here’s an image from her upcoming book, Otto, the Old Sea Dog:
And here’s what she had to say about it:
These pictures are from a book I’m working on, called Otto, the Old Sea Dog. It will be a book of about ten chapters, with a small picture every few sentences. It’s for people who are starting to read on their own. So these pictures are from a page about how Otto grew up on sailing ships and has done many things in his life: fallen in love once or twice, and learned how to drive a sports car.
I like the way you can play with words and pictures in making a book like this: so that it reads ‘sports car,’ but the car in the picture is so unlike a sports car!
I drew these pictures with a technical pen. The tip is really fine and the ink is waterproof, so I can do a watercolour wash over it afterwards and the ink won’t smudge. I am also using coloured pencil in these drawings. For Could You? Would You?, I used one of those nib pens that you dip into an inkwell. They’re hard to learn how to draw with, and sometimes make a great blob in the middle of a drawing. But they can make lines with lots of variation. For Otto, I want the pictures to be really simple and expressive. I like pictures that look like a kid did them, that are full of joy in the making. I think you can see that in pictures. I’m more concerned with that feeling than making the pictures look ‘realistic.’ There’s enough realism in real life already.
The character of Otto is based on a few things:
— My friend’s dog gave me the name, even though he was a German shorthaired pointer, and my Otto is a made-up kind of wolfhound.
— My grandfather had a friend who we visited when I was little; this friend was a retired sailor, and the backyard of his house had a real ship’s mast with rigging. He even had a bedroom with bunks and a porthole!
— Someone sang me a song once that went ‘He was an old sea dog, he could not walk on land’ and even though I know the song is about an old sailor (person), I just can’t get it out of my head that it’s about a rugged old dog that wears a cap.
I enjoy writing when I can take things I know about and look up things I don’t know, and make up the rest.
Many thanks to Trudy for her illustrations this week and for stopping by to say hi and tell us a bit more about her work!
By way of explanation for any new folks (who we hope will leave their lists), our weekly 7 Kicks list is the meeting ground for listing 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.
1* The biggest kick of all, certainly, is the overwhelming response from fellow bloggers to the Blogging For a Cure movement. I am so very proud of everyone who is participating – the bloggers who are featuring illustrators, the illustrators who are contributing snowflakes to the auction, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and everyone involved with Robert’s Snow: for Cancer’s Cure.
2* Jules. Seriously, she is so awesome. Do you guys realize how much of the stuff that goes down on this blog is ALL HER, but she’s too sweet to take full credit? Volunteering to organize Blogging For a Cure, the idea of doing weekly 7 Kicks posts, the suggestion that we could maybe start interviewing fellow bloggers… all Jules. She is so creative, so organized, so thoughtful, so smart, and so funny, and I am so freakin’ lucky to have her as a best friend.
3* I started temping at a financial management institution this week, since I haven’t found a library job yet and I’d been getting a little cabin-feverish. It’s going pretty well, I think. They’ve been very patient with me while I figured out the dauntingly complicated multi-line phone. And it’s been a good reminder of why I became a librarian and married a set designer – I just don’t get people who wear ties and talk about money all day.
4* Blogwise, we’ve got a lot of cool projects coming up, including an interview with a cool blogger tomorrow, and an exclusive surprise thingy we’re going to post about Tuesday. And the Cybils are getting underway. It’s going to be a busy fall, but in a very good way.
5* I got a bunch of lovely-looking books in the mail this week; and the one I’ve started, Hero by Perry Moore, is pretty good so far.
6* I found out about a restaurant in town, Madeline’s, that has incredible desserts. I had something called The B-52, which involved a lot of rich dark chocolate and liquor, and just blew my mind with chocolatey goodness.
7* My sister told me about a singer/songwriter that she thought I’d like, Brandi Carlile, and sent me this video of her song “The Story.” I do, in fact, like it very much:
I lovelovelove our art from the fabulous Trudy White this week, and I love the questions she’s selected for us to play with. Here’s my answers:
How would someone find you in a crowd?
Unless I’m in the front row of the crowd, they probably wouldn’t – I’m 5’1″. But the feature people usually use to describe me if they’re trying to find me is my hair – it’s long, straight, and dark blonde/light brown.
If your house had a secret room, what would be in there?
A soft comfy couch and a reading lamp, so I could read and take naps without being disturbed.
Where do you like to walk from your house?
Everywhere – I love our neighborhood, and we’re so close to downtown I can walk almost anywhere I want to go. But the best: if I take the slightly longer way to my favorite coffee house, I get to walk by a river (well, maybe a creek) for a block or so.
How will you change as you grow up?
I hope I’ll get more self-confident, less self-conscious, and basically get my shit together.
What sort of animal would you like to be?
Is there something that’s an herbivore, and can fly, and swim, and run really fast? No? I guess a bird, then. Or an otter.
Jules is out of town this weekend, hopefully having a fabulous time with her family, but she wanted me to pass on her kicks: she’s also thrilled about how well-received the Bloggers For a Cure project has been, and she’s also super-excited about our projects this week, especially the super-secret Tuesday thing. And now, we’d love to hear from the rest of you. What kicks have you had this week?