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Category Archives: SCWBI

Luvverly LISTS for Writers and Illustrators!

Hi Everyone! 🙂

Lists can be extremely useful, especially when they are constantly being updated!

Here are SIX such.

The first, compiled by the enterprising and enthusiastic Brain Grove, is a list of US publishers who are currently accepting submissions for children’s books – http://j.mp/SVbnCk  – he also, very helpfully, adds links to each entry to take you straight to the site.  I also recommend his ebook on  query /submission letter writing.

A second list, an international one, that is  regularly updated is on Lou Treleaven’s Blog:

http://loutreleaven.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/childrens-publishers-accepting-unsolicited-manuscripts/

The third,  a veritable database of bloggers who interview and/or review, is continuously being updated by the very proactive authors, Delin Colon and Lisa Kalner Williams – http://bit.ly/writerinterviewopps …

Fourth – a database of legends and folktales – if you are looking for inspiration for twists on fairytales or legends, fables etc – here is a whole swag!

Fifth – oh this one is an essential! The inimitable Katie Davis’s Tool Kit is  linked out under 5 ‘HEADLINE’ headings!!

If you haven’t joined www.jacketflap.com, I highly recommend it – an excellent networking site for all things related to children’s literature and books.

Latest addition, number six, Rachelle Burk has a wonderful resource site –  http://www.resourcesforchildrenswriters.com/ –  her awarded list of wonderfully helpful links is truly encyclopaedic!

Get busy and good luck!

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Part III – Journey of a Book – the Launch, 13th July, 2012

The launch was wonderful, a chance to  see everything in place, admire friends’ exhibits, show it all off to friends and family and network! Sheryl Gwyther, Prue Mason of SCBWI and Michelle Richards [our wonderful Exhibition coordinator from Brisbane Square Library] organised the launch event. Jenny Stubbs, Coordinator of one of Australia’s leading children’s book festivals, “Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature”,  came down from Ipswich to open the exhibition. Jenny gave a stirring and encouraging speech to gathered authors, illustrators and friends, despite protesting she didn’t fancy herself a speaker . 🙂

Visitors included Dr. Virginia Lowe of “Create a Kid’s Book” fame and Lucia Masciullio of Blue Quoll Publishing, teachers and teacher librarians from Brisbane and Ipswich. Feedback has been excellent. It is vindicating, as an author or as an illustrator, to have people acknowledge the work that goes into a book’s creation and to have a new appreciation of the end result!

Read other reports of the Exhibition on Anil Tortop’s Blog and the SCBWI Facebook page. Better still, go along and have a squizz – Level 2, Brisbane Square Library, George Street Brisbane CBD, from 13th July to 31st August, 2012!

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“All in the Woods” first review through and first from the USA

“All in the Woods” by J.R.Poulter, illustrated by Linda S. Gunn, Pixiefoot Press, 2011 UK  ISBN 978-0-9560363-5-3  [release  – 1st August]

Everyone in Pete’s family is moving or adjusting to a move, it seems. Change brings challenges, not least of which are the family’s nosey, new neighbours. Everyone says what they think, but are they right? Things are not always as they seem…  and who is the mysterious little visitor who changes everything? A story that bridges generations, told with humour  and an underlying plea for the preservation of wildlife habitats.

REVIEW by Janice Phelps Williams, USA

“With sensitive and humorous prose, J.R. McRae tells a story of family life, love, and acceptance with beautiful illustrations by Linda Gunn. When Pete finds a furry hero, Ink, to solve his dinnertime woes, a nosey neighbor jumps to conclusions that enlarge as Pete’s grandpa comes to visit. When Mrs. Allan’s mother-in-law, Nanny, and Pete’s grandpa take off for an early-morning drive, the assumptions increase until Ink and Grandpa solve the mystery. Perfect for young readers, this book speaks of a boy and his grandpa, a mother defending her son from gossip, and the surprise of love at any age.”  ~Janice Phelps Williams, author, illustrator www.janicephelps.com

Promotional poster, by Tara Hale, for “All in the Woods”, Pixiefoot Press, 2011

Links for Writers – a growing resource

This series of links were included as part of an article I wrote for WQ Magazine,”Markets – from woe to go and getting a foot in overseas! ” [March issue 2011] . Sadly, the actual links had to be removed due to space restrictions so I have placed most of them here.

This list of resources, sources and publishing opportunities on the internet and elsewhere is far from exhaustive. Please do contact me if you have or know of a resource that can be included!

Review Blogs and sites

Book Review blogs

Review Sites

All genres:

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/

Children’s Literature:

The Reading Tub

Terry Doherty Reading Tub http://www.thereadingtub.com/

Reading Tub Blog http://readingtub.wordpress.com/

Marketing & Promotional Aids

Magazines that publish short stories and poetry

[I have submitted a list of online journals most on Facebook, some with links – http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150093435850908 and growing.] New additions

Leaf Garden Press http://leafgardenpress.blogspot.com/

http://leafgardenpress.blogspot.com/2009/01/submissions-open.html

Dash Literary Journal

Rose and Thorn http://www.roseandthornjournal.com/Home_Page.html

Cross genre:

Good Reading – http://www.goodreadingmagazine.com.au/


Children’s Writers & Illustrators:

Dream Chaser promotes children’s writers and illustrators globally. http://www.dreamchasersmagazine.webs.com/

Poetry Sites and Blogs:

Children’s Poetry

Publishers

Magazines

Interview with RebeccaNewman of “Alphabet Soup” and with Meredith Costain of  “Comet”, “Explore”, “Challenge “(Pearson education)

http://monthofpoetry.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/poetic-aside-publishing-poetry/

CHILDREN’S POETRY Blogs

Julie Larios – The Drift record http://julielarios.blogspot.com/

Children’s Writers’ Blogs :

Publisher’s blogs:

Writers blogs – tips n tricks

Jayme Ian Woode http://jaymesianwoode.wordpress.com/

Writers’ Organisations:

Writing cross genre:

Children’s/YA writing Organisations:

I-publishing – new players, new info

27.12.2010 Update:

I have found numbers of other interesting sites which I am actively investigating.

Story Chimes

Story Chimes has won the PTPA Media Inc. Seal of Approval.  This App Developer is in partnership with Raven Tree Press, producing their print books for iphone and ipad as well as new, never been in print, titles.

MCB

Interesting interview with Jean-Pierre Bousquet about his experience publishing his Children’s picture book , “Caroline , and the mysterious Christmas Tree” with Mobile Children’s Books [MCB].  Check out Wheezards interview LIVE radio show on 938Live The Living Room – Singapore podcast

Loud Crow

Read the AppModo.com review article, check out their site – http://loudcrow.com/ – I like the look of their pop-up books!

uTales

This is a brand new venture which may work well for those  not so techno flash or those with less in the way of spare cash. It is European based and the books have a definitely European look. Read about uTales and about becoming a ‘uTaler‘, publisher on this site.

The site, commendably, also support “Pencils of Promise” who built  15 schools in third world countries from donations last year.

Nook Kids

This site is doing some innovative things – take a look –

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/nookcolor/kids/index.asp?cds2Pid=36139

 

Peter Taylor‘s update on i-publishing [thank you Peter]

Children’s Publishing Innovation Award

 

At last week’s NY Digital Book World Conference, this went to:

 

http://www.astorybeforebed.com/

 

This is marketed as the first and only service where consumers can create an app by recording a video of themselves reading as they turn the pages. Children can play back the story as often as they like.

 

You can give it a free trial, too.

 

There are over 200 books in their main selection http://www.astorybeforebed.com/books When you register, you create your own bookshelf to store your recorded downloads.

Many of their selection of books are published by Chronicle, Orca and Charlesbridge. They also ask for suggestions from accomplished children’s book authors, illustrators, and publishers, as they’re always looking for more great books.

The publishers may also consider giving purchasers the option of having the book read by the author/illustrator.

This idea comes from creators at

 

http://www.jacksonfish.com

 

 

Bernhard Oberdieck – Leading German illustrator, creator of children’s classics

Bernhard Oberdieck

Bernhard Oberdieck

The Art of Illustrating for Children and Some Survival Initiatives for Illustrators! – An Interview with Bernhard Oberdieck storyteller with paint and pen

Jennifer: Bernhard you have already covered in detail the extraordinary processes and techniques you utilise to create your wonderful images. [Readers – I highly recommend a visit to http://www.bernhard-oberdieck.com/en/technik.php to gain an insight into the workings behind Bernhard’s creations.] You have an astounding output – around 200 books by my estimation! What I want to cover in this interview is the background to all this amazing creativity.

You talked about developing ideas in the studio and doing variations of an idea until it is ‘right’ especially in relation to the layout of text. Do you also carry an artist’s notebook with you when you travel in case a solution occurs to you for a particular illustrative problem or an inspiration comes? Could you share one of your more challenging projects with us?

BERNARD: No, I don’t take an artist’s notebook with me if I travel. Previously, as a professional illustrator and as a student, I have drawn and painted a lot from nature and I have visited a lot of museums to study the old masters. Today I draw almost everything freely from my head or I look at photos or old illustrations from old books which I use as stimulus and inspiration. Some I utilise their basic layout in changed form in my illustrations. A good example of this is the circus illustration. Here I took an old photo, I made several years before in the South of France. I deleted some houses in the middle and placed the circus tent in their place. Because I illustrate daily about 8-12 hours, I take no drawing materials in hand in my free time.

Circus illustration - using his photographs-ic art to inform his illustrations


Jennifer: Yes I see the very varied sources of inspiration coming through. This particular picture reminds me of some of the works of Japanese hanga woodcuts.

Maustitel - Mouse & Berries - reminiscent of Hanga woodcuts

Maustitel - Mouse & Berries - reminiscent of Hanga woodcuts

Do you ever develop pictures purely because you want to as an artist and not for an illustrative project? Are there particular themes you enjoy painting more than others and why?

BERNARD: Yes, I also sometimes paint as purely an ‘artist’. But these pictures are abstract, very different from my illustrations and, up to now, only for myself.( http://www.bernhard-oberdieck.com/art.php) As an illustrator, I always try to interpret the text to so that children will get the most from the book. Maintaining the highest quality in my illustrative work is important to me. I illustrate many themes but I prefer illustrations with animals, I don’t know why.

Jennifer: Some of the stunning wildlife and landscape photographs on you website show you to be a skilled photographic artist [see http://www.bernhard-oberdieck.com/en/galerie2.php%5D .

Are your photographs a source of inspiration or more a reference tool in the studio, especially during winter months? Or are they another form of your art you exhibit&/ or utilise in cards and calendars?

BERNARD: I illustrate a lot from my imagination and my recollection. Only if I must draw something exactly, do I refer to photos and older illustrations.

Jennifer: You have a very strong sense of place. The atmosphere in your landscapes and streetscapes is humming with story.

Storm by Berhard Oberdieck

Storm by Berhard Oberdieck

What I mean by that is you have captured the feel of the moment, the storm is almost audible rolling across the sky.

You can feel the ripple of the waters.

Ripples, Mouse and Owl by Bernhard Oberdieck

Ripples, Mouse and Owl by Bernhard Oberdieck

The reader/viewer is able to step into your pictures and observe the story first hand. Have you always had such a strong connection with nature and your surroundings? What are your fondest memories of the outdoors? How has where you live/have lived shaped your art?

BERNARD: Yes, this is exactly right. I have very strong recollections of my childhood. This was lived on the land and amongst the beauties of nature. I grew up in a very small town and also live now in a small village with only 300 inhabitants. This has very much stamped me and my work. And, of course, I was influenced by the books which I read as a child. This is an image of my native landscape, where I was born. ( http://www.bernhard-oberdieck.com/image/Illustration_32.php )


Jennifer: Sense of place also includes interiors. In Germany, you have so much history in your buildings, so much atmosphere built up over centuries that the buildings have character of their own.

Floating bed and stairs by Bernhard Oberdieck

Floating bed and stairs by Bernhard Oberdieck

Would you share with us your source of inspiration and how and why you chose the particular perspectives for such wonderful creations as the following pictures ?

BERNARD: I don’t believe that here, in my Illustrative work, German history plays any special role. I always try, to make my illustrations a little more interesting for the viewer by using special perspectives. Of course I try to lure the children to explore the pictures more closely by adding in a lot of interesting, curious and imaginative little things. It is certainly more interesting for them to discover a treasure trove of unexpected details.

Jennifer: Your love of nature and keen observation come out strongly in the botanical detail of the plants and trees in your pictures. Do you draw plants and animals from life or memory or from field sketches?

BERNARD: Photos, old books, magazines and also the Internet – these are all things I use.

Jennifer: The ability to give distinctive characterisation to animals/toys is another feature of your work.

Bear & pillow by Bernhard Oberdieck

Bear & pillow by Bernhard Oberdieck

As a guide to up and coming illustrators and art students, can you describe to us how you achieve the strength of feeling, the humour and the drama in animal faces or is it something that comes instinctively?

BERNARD: I think it comes instinctively. In addition, the publishing company and the children expect figures (animals) that they can identify with from fiction and their own memories and experience with their soft animal toys. pets and zoo or farm animals. And, in addition, one must sometimes humanize them.

Jennifer: I love the drama and the humour in some of your eye-catching perspectives. Did pictures such as these come to mind spontaneously or did you work through a number

Fall by Bernhard Oberdieck

Fall by Bernhard Oberdieck

of experimental stages? Do you consciously look for extraordinary angles?

BERNARD: These pictures come to mind spontaneously. If I begin, I generally already have a picture in my head. Not always, but very often.


Jennifer: Many illustrators end up writing some of their own stories, e.g., Ian Beck and Mick Inkpen. Have you ever written any stories of your own, is that something you hope to do at some future stage? What are your plans for 2009?

BERNARD: No, I don’t write books. I simply have no time for this, because, for example, in 2009 I must illustrate 4 new picture books and certainly also other small works.

Jennifer: Time! Yes, I think you speak for all of us. I know I wish I had 24 more hours in each day! We all look forward to seeing your new projects out on the shelves. To have a peak at Bernhard’s stunning latest project go to : http://kibook.blogspot.com/

Jennifer: Finally, do you have a question that I and other interviewers have failed to ask and which you would love answer? Now is your opportunity!


BERNARD: I would  like to say that the financial earning power  of professional illustrators is something that needs exploration with a view to expanding opportunities to capitalise on output. It seems that everywhere we need to look at other ways of making our artistic output pay dividends.  Thank you for this interview.

Jennifer: My pleasure Bernhard and, yes, I hear what you are saying, dialogue is needed. For those out there looking at other options to earn with their work, check the link below to see what Bernhard is already doing in the area of merchandising.

Cards, Calendars and More

Kuchen - Cake Capers by Bernhard Oberdieck

Kuchen – Cake Capers by Bernhard Oberdieck

Skillful  ‘ merchandising’ of artistic output with spin offs as posters, cards and calendars,  as Bernhard already does, is another feather in his cap! The illustration, above, is an example of creating merchandising opportunities.

Coming soon is Bernhard’s latest book, “Cat’s Concert” . I have seen a ‘peak preview’. It is STUNNING! This book is a further outgrowth of Bernhard’s efforts in innovation.  The book will be released with an accompanying music CD collaboration with the writer.

A Peak!

illustration42illustration44

Weirdly wacky wordage no. 10 – Laddy McLaird – images by Stephen King

Scottish Lad by Stephen King

Scottish Lad by Stephen King

Laddy McLaird, a grim, ghastly tale wi’ a beard!

by J.R.Poulter 08

Fair Laddy McLaird was the baddest o bairns

Ever born in the Valley o Bones

A wild wicked child with the tricks and the wiles

Of many a blackguard full grown!

xxxx######xxxx######

Though the Elders it seems were aware of his schemes,

They turned a blind eye till he bit Piper Skye

But what’s worst, Piper fell on his pipes,

The bag burst and by cripes

The Piping the Haggis was wrecked!

That was the last straw they declared Lad outlawed

Twas high time the boy learned respect!

xxxx######xxxx######

McKenna, McKanna, Auld Willy McGraw

The McCougalls, McDougalls and Curly McHaugh

Chased Laddy from town with staves and with staffs

And accompanied his exit with full bellied laughs!

xxxx######xxxx######

Now they’d chased Laddy down, right out of the town

Far, far from his home in the Valley o Bones.

Till they came to the loch, “G’won scram,!”

Lad could nay swim but had na mind to drown!”

Lad was a fast learner, with nary a murmur

He leapt in the loch and he swam!

xxxx######xxxx######

When he came to the shore

It was night cold and raw and off in the distance he saw

A light – twas a fire and as he drew nigher

He found a giant maggot frying fish over faggots

“Gimme some or I squish yer!!” he cried!

xxxx######xxxx######

The maggot was clever but terribly slow and so

So he moved like a lardy great blob.

Lad snatched up the fish and finished the dish

By emptying the lot down his gob!

“Oi Thar!” cried the Maggot emitting a sob,

It’s cold and I’m awfully famished”!

xxxx######xxxx######

“No worries!” sneered Lad, “you’re meal was na bad.

So yer won’t have to beg and be sorry!

Just get off yer flub, yer fat useless grub

And I won’t turn you into a curry!”

xxxx######xxxx######

Lad spent a quiet night by the faggot’s firelight

And cooked up the maggot for supper

There was plenty to eat and meat was quite sweet

For the maggot had plenty of blubber.

xxxx######xxxx######

The next morning Lad woke as the sun up and broke

Like an egg on the mountains above him.

He filled up a flagon and I’m never braggin’

His thirst was the size of Loch Ness!

Then he loaded what’s left of the maggot and faggots

Upon the poor larvae’s own wagon.

xxxx######xxxx######

About midday, about midway

Across the plain under the mountain

Lad thought he saw something that could be a bird

But as it came closer, proved much more absurd.

He shook his head in disbelief

And took a long pull on his flagon,

‘Twas never a bird the likes HE’d ever heard

But rather more like, well, a dragon!

xxxx######xxxx######

It soared down towards him. Our Lad got prepared.

But the closer it got, he could see what ‘twas not

And the weirder ‘n wilder ‘n worse it appeared!

There was one thing this dragon had lots!

xxxx######xxxx######

“Why it has na meat on it!

It’s naught but bare bones!

What harm can a thing do

That’s spare as the stones?”

xxxx######xxxx######

Lad stood his ground as the dragon flew down

But the closer it drew, this foul stench kinda grew.

The dragon breathed naught but foul air!

“What kind of a beast am I goin’ to defeat?

I want to be feared for the warfare I wage

For my cunning and cruelty and terrible rage!

This joke of a monster’s not fair!”

xxxx######xxxx######

The dragon swooped on him, he thought he’d be sick

The odour was awful, it made the air thick!

It flung wide it jaws. Lad saw down its throat.

There was nothing but spareribs that’s worthy of note.

So he skewered the creature head down on a tree

Then proceeded to cook up the spareribs for tea!

xxxx######xxxx######

With all this strange food, young McLaird grew a beard

And figured he’d figure’s a figure much feared.

So he claimed dragon castle and won it’s fair maid

And headed for home with the loot he had made.

xxxx######xxxx######

Now the folk in the Valley had thought Lad was dead

Or at least that was what all the elders had said.

So when this strange stranger came thundering down

From the high mountain passes into their wee town

They voted him TOPS as the ugliest Scot

Ere to down a wee drop and made him the Laird o the Crofts.

Lad became legend! Just one wee thing peeved,

Not one of his tales of his feats were believed….

Dragon Bones by Stephen King

Dragon Bones by Stephen King

Write Realities

Words are something I play with – blend, bend, break and mend, shape, shift scape and grift into wild and wonderful patterns of saying! Words can make stories, dramas, poetry, songs, information and I work with all of these. I love showing others how to use and express themselves with words in hands on workshops.

I also illustrate the poems I write with line drawings and photography and I make jewellery. That’s me plus spouse, five kids, two cats, possums and geckos and water dragons….

Mending Lucille by J.R.Poulter, illustrated by Sarah Davis

Mending Lucille by J.R.Poulter, illustrated by Sarah Davis

I have just had my 9th book released, “Mending Lucille” with Hachette Livre, and it has had the most amazing reception! It sold out the first print run in the first week, got picked up by ASO (Australia’s biggest distributor) and within the first fortnight was a recommended book for counseling/biblio-therapy by the Australian Centre for Grief Education, Monash Medical Centre. The story in itself did not take long to write – under 15 minutes, although it was ‘cooking’ for many many years whilst I was growing up, listening and observing the devastating effects of childhood grief/loss played out in the lives of those around me. The story was important to me, so when it was accepted by Lothian (Hachette LIvre), I was keenly interested in who would illustrate my story. To be given the opportunity to find my own illustrator as a relatively unknown author was HUGE! I found Sarah on the internet – her style was perfect for the story. Sarah intuitivley saw all the layers and the result – stunning!

Sarah and I had the honour to be asked to present our story of creating “Mending Lucille” at the SCWIBI International Conference in Sydney, February, 2008. A huge deal for two relative ‘newbies’.  The Conference was a BLAST! Met numbers of amazing folk and networked with amazing writers, illustrators as well as publishers from all over the globe. I highly recommend SCWBI membership to anyone!

Poem,
Poem, "Fledglings", and illustration by J.R.McRae

This is an example of my illustrative work. I write poetry under my maiden name, J.R.McRae. The illustration of the tree came first, then the poem (“Fledglings”) and I added the screen of leaves to the right. I drew it with my mouse in Paint and imported the colours into the palette with the dropper tool.

The illustration can add a whole further dimension to the poem, but generally the poem and picture work hand in hand. I like the experimentation and the extension that working with line and color give to my writing.

I also make jewelry – beading and what I call RaptRocs – these are semi-precious rocks that have been tumbled to take off the roughest bits. I hold them in my hands and feel their texture, the fissures and shape, any faults – then I wrap them in silver to make pendants etc so that the best features of the rock are highlighted. Now they will say something about the wearer as well – one of them is now in Germany.

RaptRocs

RaptRocs

semi-precious rocks wrapped in silver wire