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Category Archives: birds

Summer Reading Club 2012/13 – Untangled Tales is choc full of holiday awesomeness

The Untangled Tales website is the best  of the Summer Reading sites. Going over the site, was like being in one of the famous ‘But WAIT, there’s more!’ advertisements! At every click of the mouse, there was more and all of it FREE! There is something here for children of all ages [preschool, primary, secondary], for their parents, teachers and librarians. The site is gorgeous [literally] to look at, easy to navigate, entertaining in content and layout and engagingly informative!

The Celebrity Corner  questions brought out the creative quirkiness of authors and illustrators in a very entertaining way and featured a very diverse group of creatives!

The Untangled Tales game is a blast – great fun! It challenges memory and  prods research capabilities and informs about other cultures, their customs and attitudes as reflected in their  fairytales and legends.

Image

Check out the  side tabs and their drop down menus – there is heaps and heaps of  fun activity, fantastic tales, playful poetry and fanciful stories, arty opportunities, creative competitions in writing and art activities and painless learning along the way!!

I’m thrilled to be part of this  year’s Summer Reading Club. I’m in Celebrity Corner with Kerry Brown, Christian Bocquee [with whom I am collaborating in our own Fractured Fairytales collection], Terry Denton, Lucia Masciullo and numbers of other wonderfully creative folk!

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Illustrators’ Alert – Nami Island Concours – Nambook Festival

Opportunity for Illustrators internationally - Nami Island Concours

Opportunity for Illustrators internationally – Nami Island Concours

The wonderful people of Nami Island Concours have created another outstanding opportunity for illustrators all over the world! The dream of these folk, who are so passionately devoted to children’s literature, is to  turn Nami Island into a library! 🙂 Angela Kim is the  Assistant Manager and the person to contact if you wish to know more – her contact details are on the website.

These are the links  – Nami Island Concours, Guidelines and information

Application forms

Festival information

You can find the brochure by going here.

Journey of a Book – Part I – children’s literature creation under the microscope

Books are created from the imagination and inspiration of authors and the insightful vision of illustrators. They are then crafted. The authorial crafting may be right brain with a touch of editing or slow and laborious left brain plotting. For an illustrator, it may be  inspiration flowing like rivers from brush or  stylus or it may be  storybook or dummy creation then rethinks, scrap some ideas, adapt others. Eventually, a book emerges that is then ‘ready for submission’. These days, that may mean  adding animation and audio to make the book a digital production for app developers like  Utales or Flying Books, or for YA, formatting it for Kindle or Nook e-publishers. It may mean self publishing on Createspace  or Lightningsource, Smashwords or Lulu.  Or it will mean the long road via submission to traditional publishers.

If the latter is chosen, the publisher will often require more editing, changes and perhaps more changes. My own book, started under contract to one publisher, was already well underway with the inimitable Sarah Davis as illustrator. We were having a ball creating our book. Then our publisher was taken over and the new publisher wanted  to  institute changes. At first, the major change – ‘get rid of the dead bird’ – seemed straight forward. Then we realised  the book needed the bird but, to keep it, we had to  make some big adjustments. An injured bird can’t just disappear in a children’s book, it has to get better and be released, which, in our picture book, meant its story  had to be woven into the fabric of the main story seamlessly. No problem, a few days and Sarah and I had nailed it! As book creators, you have to be flexible and, especially if going the traditional publisher route, you can’t be too precious about your creation.

SO! This exhibition is about the journey numbers of wonderful children’s and YA books took from creation to  bookshelf! Each book has a different creation story to reveal – something the public doesn’t see, it’s behind the scenes. Now the reader can take a peek backstage, behind the scenes to how it all came together!

THE SET UP

Setting up was not straight forward. The spaces has to be utilised to best advantage and the  items displayed needed to be seen from as many angles as possible given I had a two shelf rectangular glass case.  I didn’t end up using everything I brought with me. It would have been too cluttered. Last minute inclusion, bulldog clips, proved life-savers! They held the  photographic prints in place.

I had never ‘hung’ a painting before at an exhibition and that proved ‘interesting. Sarah Davis sent up her wonderful original painting via kindly courier, Peter Taylor, but it was unframed. I had no time to find a frame. Fortunately, I had one around the house that was  a good match colour-wise though not quite the  perfect size.

Given my exhibit was about my close collaboration with Sarah, the items displayed needed to reflect the two minds working together to make a new creative whole – our book! Sources of inspiration, stages in text change, changes in images, cover and trivia relating to the characters, objects and places in the book, all combined to make a successful ( I hope you agree) exhibit!

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The Exhibition, Journey of a Book, has a wide range of book journeys exhibited, from YA novel, like David McRobbie’s, to real life adventure  by Prue Mason, picture books like those by Kathrine Battersby and chapter books like the one by Angela Sunde, to non fiction works on calligraphy as an illustrative art form by Peter Taylor.

Thoughts on Collaborating, incorporating an Interview with Joanna Marple on uTales

Collaborating

Darshana Shah Khiani‘s interview on her Children’s Book Review site, “Flowering Minds”, with new children’s picture book author, Joanna Marple, is revealing on lots lof levels.

Joanna and Darshana met on children’s writer and illustrator FaceBook site, 12 x 12 , a very lively, supportive, share and learn community set up by Julie Hedlund. When Joanna released her very first picture book, a collaboration with the very talented Maja Sereda, Darshana jumped in with the interview offer.

“Snow Games” is a fun tumble and rumpus in winter’s wonderland aimed at 3 to 7 year olds. Maja’s wonderfully endearing little animal characterisations beautifully complement the story.

Joanna  shares what it was like to collaborate with Maja to create “Snow Games”. Close collaboration between author  and illustrator is a circumstance largely [and sadly] foreign to most traditional print publishing. For Joanna and Maja it was a fun and very rewarding experince. But the interview goes beyond the creation of  “Snow Games”. It also details Joanna’s experience of the uTales website and her thoughts on traditional and digital publishing.

Cover for “The Sea Cat Dreams” collaboration with Muza Ulasowski, a narrative verse story with a theme of surviving the changes in life.

Joanna Kindly makes mention of my collaboration with noted animal and wildlife illustrator, Muza Ulasowski, a story about surviving change, “The Sea Cat Dreams”. Muza was one of many wonderful illustrators I met on the uTales Facebook group and have since worked with to create a varied range of children’s books.

Interview with Mattias Adolfsson, the Lewis Carroll of C21st illustrative art.

Cool

Cool

The Addictive Wackiness of Mattias Adolfsson – Sweden’s leading  innovator in the  illustrative arts

Jennifer: I hesitate to ask, your right brain is so hyperactively active who knows what it will let loose, but from where does all this creativity come! Inherited, evolved or from somewhere, dare I ask where, else?

Mattias: Evolved perhaps, but It might have been inherited from my father. My Father was a very funny man, he never got to get an education but I think he had great potential as a Illustrator as well. He came from poor conditions though and had to leave school early.

The Melon Mine Ball House

The Melon Mine Ball House

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

Sketched Whilst Wandering

Sketched Whilst Wandering

The Frontline Sky Ark

The Frontline Sky Ark

Jennifer: As a kid, did you get the bedtime story treatment? What were you favourite stories? What were the illustrations/illustrators you remember most vividly?

Mattias: I really can’t remember getting the bedtime story treatment, but my mother started sticking books in my hands at an early stage (she continued until late in my teens suggesting books, she still does it). I’m rather Euroscentric in my upbringing, my favourite Illustrators as a child where: Oscar AnderssonTove Janson , Kjell Aukrust ,  and with Richard Scarry as an exception to the rule.

Osckar Andersson

Osckar Andersson

Tove Janson

Tove Janson

KJell Aukrust

Kjell Aukrust

Richard Scarry [ Scary]

Richard Scarry / Scary

As for stories, I early got hooked on European (gallic) comics, Tintin and Asterix, I used to read them and still do.

Herge's Tintin

Herge's Tintin

Asterix-Albert-UderzoGroo-Sergio AragonesJennifer’s Comment: I think readers will agree there are some  curious elements of these influences seeping through.

[Mad’s master of detailed mayhem can’t help himself, even his website in seminal form features, Groo, an example of his madcap  characterisations.]

All three artists have an anarchic humour both lauding and subverting utopian ideals and just about everything else in between, Herge, of course, being the subtle one of the three. Where do readers see Mattias flitting in and out of here?

Jennifer: You refer to your love of Mad Magazine’s Sergio Aragones what drives you to detail so transfixing, so almost maddeningly effusive? It is an art in itself to take in all of some of your creations at once! [Can we accuse you of having anything to do with behind the scenes of Where’s Wally?]!

Mattias:

I think the main influence in this is the books of Richard Scary, (where’s Wally is not something I have seen, but I’ve heard it mentioned often). Sometimes I get a craving for leaving the very detailed work as it is hard to take it in, it is lousy as traditional art.

[Note from Jennifer: No, Mattias please don’t. We LOVE the detail!]

"Soupilification" Tree

"Soupilification" Tree

Big Red Animal Bus

Big Red Animal Bus

Sargasso

Sargasso

Death-Star

Death-Star

The detail is mindblowing and maniacal and insidiously addictive. You could study it for hours and still pick out new facets.

Jennifer: I think I mentioned to you once how your incredible machines reminded me of the crazy inventions depicted by Heath Robinson last century. You feature many maniacal machines in your work, what is the fascination?

Mattias: I’m not sure, to be frank I’m not that into machines, sometimes I use the drawing as some kind of meditation, they start to live by themselves.

[Jennifer: The Machine has a life. Mattias’ machines have a humour and character like no other I have seen comparable.]

Horse Powers

Horse Powers

City Dweller

City Dweller

Jogger

Jogger

Migration2

Migration2

Jenny Wagner once said that no children’s book should have a mchine at its heart. In the case of Mattias’ robottic house machines, I would have to disagree. They verge into the realm of the Iron Man, I Robot and even Bicentennial Man. There is a drama and pathos about them that mitigates against the sometimes bleak black humour of civilisation gone  in search of itself.

Jennifer: The architectural elements of your work have also been compared to Hayao Miyazaki. What inspires you particularly about brick, stone and wood construction?  You tell how you started out to be an architect but diverged. How did that come about?

Mattias:

I love buildings and especially of the older kind. Though, when I started studying Architecture, I soon found out that I wasn’t too good designing modern houses. So now I can design what building I want, not having to think about the dwellers.

Captains

Captains

Floaters

Floaters

Church

Church

Ship of the Desert

Ship of the Desert

Oltec-Space

Oltec-Space

Jennifer:  Your recent scholarship sojourn in Greece produced a wealth of work which we all saw evolve over the months on your blog site. Tell us about winning the scholarship and where you see the outworkings of that experience taking you?

Mattias: Well winning was not that hard, it goes to professional Swedish Illustrators ( and I guess not too many can leave home for one month). I’d love to do more traveling and drawing but, in order to do that, I’d have to finance it in some way, maybe via some magazine.

Jennifer’s note: Mattias sketched the most ordinary and extraordinary and made them all ‘art’. He interspersed his online blog diary with the mind expanding mischief his followers have come to love. These, not necessarily from that period, exemplify. [For more still, go to http://www.mattiasadolfsson.se/  http://mattiasa.blogspot.com/ ]

Grumpy disher - dishwasher/toiletcleaner

Grumpy disher - dishwasher/toiletcleaner

House Flower1

House Flower1

Left Dragon

Left Dragon

Learning to Fly

Learning to Fly

Over Ambitious

Over Ambitious

Wacky Wordage No 15 – Soupilifications by J.R.Poulter, illus by Mattias Adolfsson

House Tree Lower by Mattias Adolfsson

House Tree Lower by Mattias Adolfsson

Soupilifications by J.R.Poulter

“Soup”, said the little bird up in the tree,

“It’s SOUP they want to make of me!”

O> O> O> O>

“Disgusting!” the parrot replied, but he lied.

He’d helped brew the stew of the others who’d died.

O> O> O> O>

The little bird looked at his trembly wee feet

And went , Tweeeeeeeeeeeeeet….”

O> O> O> O>

“Alas, ‘tis sad,” the parrot sighed,

“Come sit on the branch here, by my side.”

And the parrot preened, stretching his wings out wide.

O> O> O> O>

“You have big wings, I could curl up and hide…”

The wee birdy twittered. The parrot obliged.

That was the last that was heard of wee bird.

O> O> O> O>

So here’s a tip for you or whoever,

Birds of a feather should NOT stick together

If one of them’s on the menu ever!