and Lizzy Rockwell’s ‘07 snowflake}
Jules: Mwahahahahahaha. Happy Halloween to everyone! This week’s illustration is by LeUyen Pham (who, apparently, goes by “Uyen” and says it’s pronounced “win”), and let me just say that I love her illustrations but it wasn’t ’til I saw this post in July at Chicken Spaghetti, in which Susan talked about Once Around the Sun by Bobbi Katz and illustrated by LeUyen, that I became familiar with her books. Whoa, she’s talented. Go visit her great web site, too, where you can see all kinds of her illustrations in her gallery. Eisha, I think, was already in love with her art work, and I thank Susan for posting about one of her books so that I could discover her awesome-ness myself.
And many thanks to LeUyen for giving us permission to use this Halloween illustration, which is on her web site — especially since she just gave birth and yet still managed to take the time to correspond with us about this. She also sent many other illustrations, some never seen before (as in, slotted for upcoming publications), and told us all about them. Woot! So, here’s the deal: If you’re a LeUyen fan, you’re in luck. If you’re not, we hope to convert you. If you really just visit every Sunday to merely read and list kicks and don’t care about the illustrator features (my New Favorite Thing Ever at 7-Imp), then scroll down to the kicks, by all means.
We’re just going to post these beautiful things and include her commentary about them right next to them:
“Freckleface Strawberry (Bloomsbury Books), by Julianne Moore, just out now… This book was great to do. Julie apparently was sent several artists’ work to select from, and she loved the book Big Sister, Little Sister I had done a couple years ago. She’s the sweetest person, and really let me go at it with the character. In fact, she even asked me to cover the little girl in freckles — initially, I was shy about putting too many dots on her! Contrary to popular opinion, I never saw pictures of Julie as a child. My editor and Julie were pretty adamant about the fact that the character should just come from my imagination. I was pretty surprised afterward to discover that the little girl I had drawn looks almost exactly like Julie’s daughter!”
“This is from The Winter’s Tale (Dial Books), a re-telling of Shakespeare by Bruce Coville, also coming out this season. I have lots of different styles, and this one was a great chance to paint in the traditional watercolor I’ve always loved. The development of these characters was a lot of fun, almost like casting for a play. I don’t use photo reference often, and I don’t ever use models, so I really got to develop how each of these characters should look. It was like being a director, an actor, and a set designer all in one.”
And . . . Uyen’s comments on the illustration featured below: “This is from a book entitled God’s Dream (Candlewick Books), by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to be released next year. The book is a lovely condensed version of Archbishop Tutu’s many inspirational writings. I was really pleased to be selected by the Archbishop himself for this one. The fellow in the red shirt, center of the piece, is a caricature of him.”
“Grace for President (Hyperion Books), by Kelly DiPuccio, is also coming out next year. It’s a story of a little girl named Grace who is astounded that there has never been a female president, and consequently decides to run for president in a mock election at her school. When deciding on how Grace should look, I thought an African American girl sounded ideal, and gave her as much spunk as I could. This, of course, was before Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton decided to run for president — how timely that my candidate is both female and African American!”
“The Prince of Persia (First:Second Books), by A.B. Sina and Jordan Mechner, is also scheduled for next year. It’s a project I did with my husband, my first graphic novel, and a huge endeavor at that. 180 pages, and we finished it (from start to finish) in five months, while I had three other deadlines to meet. Crazy amount of work, based on the video game, written by an actual Persian Prince (who’s writing under a pseudonym). It was great to do with my husband, Alex Puvilland, who is also an artist.”
That’s about it! It’s been a busy year, and by the way, I illustrated all of these books (except the Shakespeare book) while I was pregnant with my first child, my son Leo. I’ve already dedicated three of these books to him! And technically, Prince of Persia is a family project, since we all three were involved in one way or another . . . That’s all! . . . Happy halloween!”
I found those book cover images there for the last two titles she mentioned. Thanks so much to LeUyen for sharing so abundantly with us on this last Sunday in October. What a treat to see all those LeUyen images!
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.
Man, I just love these illustrations. The Halloween one is so excellently spooky. And so fitting, ’cause I am so in the Halloween mood.
1* I read some great books this week. One was Boy Toy by Barry Lyga. I didn’t really know what to expect from it, but Lyga took a tricky subject (a teenage boy dealing with the aftermath of a sexual relationship with a teacher) and made a very believable and honest and compulsively readable story out of it. Well done.
2* Also, I finally-finally-finally got on the Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer bandwagon. That book freakin’ rocks. It’s so hard to find a truly original fantasy anymore. This one scores on just about every level. Also well done, Laini Taylor.
3* I also finally saw Mirrormask, and fell in love with Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean and the Jim Henson Company all over again. I’d been scared to see this one - somehow the premise worried me, like it was just going to be a big gothy CGI version of a Cirque du Soleil show. But no. It’s awesome.
4* Jules continues to kick ass with guest-blogging for ForeWord Magazine. Way to represent, Jules! And we’re working on a challenging co-review for our last week there, and even though it’s proving to be a tricky book to talk about, it makes me so glad to have a blog-partner like Jules who gets what I’m trying to say even when I can’t say it as eloquently as I’d like.
5* Fall is here in full effect, and it is just glorious - the air has that crisp edge to it, the trees are gorgeous, and I’m crunching through leaves all over the sidewalks and kicking up that excellent earthy-airy-tea scent. I love it so much, I would gladly sacrifice most of summer to keep it around longer.
6* I’ve discovered all sorts of new Halloween candy this year. Like, did you know that Hershey’s has a new bag of miniatures that are ALL SPECIAL DARK versions of the standards? SPECIAL DARK Mr. Goodbars! SPECIAL DARK Krackels! Yum!!! Why even bother making the other kind anymore?
7* We’ve run into our upstairs neighbors a couple of times in the stairwell and out in public, and they are so nice! They’re a couple, both poets and teaching at Cornell, and
just seem very cool. She even brought us just-baked-still-warm chocolate chip cookies the other night, just because she’d made ‘em and felt like sharing. And they invited us to their Halloween party, a.k.a. the Zombie Prom. I’m kind of excited about the prospect of getting social with people in the same building - it could be just like Friends! Not to mention - Zombie Prom!!! How cool is that?
Whatever your plans, have a Happy Halloween, everybody!
Well, now that is a tough act to follow, and Eisha has captured the joys of Autumn very well. And thanks for the kind words, Eisha . . . My week was just great, but I still don’t necessarily have seven separate kicks. Plus, we’ve just returned from a Ghouls-at-the-Zoo type event at Nashville’s zoo (a definite kick here on this Saturday night, as I type), and I think I’m too beat to type any more. There was lots of trick-or-treating; seeing one of my best friends who works there do her gross-’n'-spooky-animals-of-the-world show (she carried around some kind of jumbo timbuktu cockroach, which made me want to pass out from way up in the audience; she’s a brave woman); and carousel-riding to boot! So, that was fun, and generally I’m just thankful that my friends and family — and especially my girls — are safe and healthy and happy during this kickin’ month of October, to which we’re about to say goodbye. Can you believe it?
What are your kicks?