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Tag Archives: Sarah Davis

Part II – Journey of a Book – setting up, hanging in there

The set up, which I thought would only take an hour, stretched to all morning. Coordinating the set up of an exhibition this size with so many ‘exhibitors’ had Michelle Richards, the Brisbane Central Library’s exhibition coordinator, running a million directions at once, advising as to ‘how [it was something new to a lot of us], finding stands and  suggesting modes of  display, and generally guiding us all through to ‘VOILA!’ – one  fascinating and very varied exhibition!

But there was more – not just the glass cases to set up, but hanging around to do the hanging!  this was not as straightforward as it sounds. We had to somehow attach our paintings to fine dangling wires and – here’s the worst part GET THEM TO SIT $#@*# STRAIGHT!

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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.

Collaboration – an adventure to be savored!

I have found the opportunity to collaborate with illustrators something eminently rewarding, an experience that  enriches both participants and results in a more vibrant and much richer work. It does this because, in the best collaborations,  it  broadens the vision of the work, taking in as it does the illustrator’s perception of the story’s universe.

My first picture book, “Mending Lucille” was the result of a collaborationWorking with the amazing Sarah Davis was inspirational! I have gone on to collaborate closely with illustrators all over the world. I have found them on the internet’s illustration sites, on http://www.Jacketflap.com and on http://www.utales.com. We have created and are creating numbers of other picture books, some digitally published, some in process with print publishers and some I am still researching the right publishing outlet. Finding the ‘right’ outlet is very important. Not every publisher is ‘right’ for every book.

Digital Publishing

I have had the pleasure of collaborating with first time picture book illustrators, Jade Potts [USA], Jonas Sahlstrom [Sweden], Alexandra Krasuska [Sweden] and fellow Aussie, Jodi Magi [now of Abu-Dhabi] on uTales, and am about to have my latest collaboration, “Little Dragons’ Babysitter” released with Caroline Lee. Utales is non-exclusive which means  creators can take advantage of other  opportunities for their work as they arise. I have just signed a contract with Flying Books, Islreal, for “Rich Man, Poor Man” the book I did with Jodi Magi. My first digital collaboration is on http://www.istorytime, “At the Beach with Bucket and Spade” with Sarah Bash Gleeson [USA], whom I met on JacketFlap.com, a wonderful children’s literature networking site along with many other amazing and inspiring folk. Sarah is editor of magazine, “Dream Chaser” which focusses on children’s books and their creators.

Joanna Marple’s mini review of my latest digital book, “Xengu and the Turn of Tide”:

“A Tolkienesque tale, I love it!”

See a review of her first picture book in my last blog post with links to her interview with Darshana Shah Khiani on “Flowering Minds“.

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“Mending Lucille” – A Peak Inside

Mending Lucille - cover

Mending Lucille - cover

Mending Lucille has been described as …

“…a book to be treasured by all. It is the story of a young girl and how she copes with the loss of her mother. The illustrations are both stunning and sensitive… Mending Lucille is a story which will help any child coping with the loss of a loved one. It shows that time will heal but you never have to forget. The theme of grief is dealt with in a sensitive and age appropriate manner. The little girl is never given a name. She doesn’t need one. She is every child who has ever suffered the pain of losing someone they care about.”
I loved it.      “The Reading Stack”, Issue 11, August 2008, page 12

Peak inside nowhttp://bit.ly/VQxs1

Part II. Mattias Adolfsson the Illustrative Storyteller

Like all good illustrators, Matias is a storyteller with paint and ink. The joy of working with folk like Mattias, Angel Dominguez, Bernhard Oberdieck, Nick Harris, Sarah Davis and others, is that they can load layers of meaning into a single picture adding dimension to the text. They are also able to add illustrative subplots of their own that augment the main plot and add visual interest. The other joy, and I speak here as a writer, is that their very doodlated sketches and ‘just for me/ for fun’ works  speak, story positively oozing out the edges. I have episodes of  total right brain escapism let loose with Mattias’ tantalising takes on everything and anything and more. Many of the Wacky Wordages on my blog or available for teachers and students and others  via www.sharing-books.com, are the result of such episodes of  creative indulgence.

Characters

Beatnik Dragon [alias Mattias?]

Beatnik Dragon -alias Mattias?

Gnu with G[n]un

Gnu with un Gnun

Monster 4

Monster 4

Person carriage with mini-elephant

Person carriage with mini-elephant

and more characters…

Piggles

Piggles

Sky Dragon

Sky Dragon

The importance of flat sock ironing

The importance of flat sock ironing

Bertie in bath - character in "Improbable Adventures..." with J.R.Poulter

Bertie in bath - character in "Improbable Adventures..." with J.R.Poulter

Jennifer: The comic book element is present in many of your blog posts, you mentioned a course in comic writing/creation. What brought on that deviation? What are you ambitions in venturing into that genre?

Mattias:

I’m not a big comic reader (I used to be though) but I’d like to do some kind of comics/book soon. My priority has to be making a living though, so it’s hard finding time making something like books and comics on my own time without the monetary backing.

Jennifer: The sense of story in your works is strong. Do you have plans for your own children’s picturebook? What about a darkly humorous graphic novel? [You keep tantalizing us with hints of projects underway.]

Mattias: I have a problem with too many ideas at the moment, I need to focus on print and leaving the web perhaps, I spend far too much time doing internet things. Maybe a yearlong web sabbatical would do the trick.

Characters in current book project, “Improbable Adventures…” :

Elery takes off

Henry takes off

Elery

Elery

Henry & ice-cream truck

Henry & ice-cream truck

Jennifer: I find your work inspiring in a dangerously right brain way!

Do you find the drawings evolve themselves from the end of your pen and do their own thing or do you try to control them?

Mattias: I often say that the drawing kind of evolves rather than being planned, but when I look at the drawings I do, or rather, I can see certain themes, I guess that my right brain does know what it wants to draw…

Some of Mattias’ ‘right brain inspired’ series :

Rocket series: Goth Spear Tower Rocket

Rocket series: Goth Spear Tower Rocket

Robot sea creature series: Magnetic Fish 3

Robot sea creature series: Magnetic Fish 3

Domestic Monster series: The Manual Clothesline

Domestic Monster series: The Manual Clothesline

The House Flower Series - House Flower 1

The House Flower Series - House Flower 1

Jennifer: Do you get many approaches from the corporate world? I mean if I were Mojo, I’d want you to design my logo! What are some of the more oddball commissions you have had?

Which commissions do you enjoy the most?

Mattias: I get some approaches but not enough and far too few are oddball, I’d love to do textiles or pottery (not sure about the right name for this). The strangest was doing fashion Illustrations for an English magazine (I’m totally uninterested in fashion). The best commissions I’ve done are when I get a free hand (surprise)!

A variety of  output….

New Ideas in Vacuum cleaners

New Ideas in Vacuum cleaners

This is the back of the book "Till mitt barnbarn" Mattias had been working on, it's all the objects from the first page neatly packed.

This is the back of the book "Till mitt barnbarn" Mattias had been working on, it's all the objects from the first page neatly packed.

Jennifer: There is a great ‘new’ interview with Mattias on Design Taxi for the curious. So, Mattias, having barraged you with questions, which one that you DESPERATLEY wanted me to ask, have I left out? Now is your turn!

Mattias: Do you sometimes fret over if you are too much of an illustrators’ Illustrator and may be not have a very commercial style?  The thought has occurred to me lately. I’m trying to get commission work and maybe an art sales rep, but it’s hard and very time consuming.

Jennifer notes: The mechanics of earning a living with art and literature require,  especially in in the early stages of ‘breaking in’,  other work which  seems constantly to threaten to rob that precious and closely guarded creative element, ‘time’, and yet the  art/literature is the raison d’être and the other, the ‘intrusive’ work, merely essential if the writer/artist is  to do something as mundane as eat.

More variations of Mattias’ output:

Parade: on a roll - Some additional drawing to the book Mattias is doing (Bonnier & Carlsen) with his sister as a designer.

Parade: on a roll - Some additional drawing to the book Mattias is doing (Bonnier & Carlsen) with his sister as a designer.

Cooking utensils series - done whilst commuting on the train

Cooking utensils series - done whilst commuting on the train

57 birds and one owl

57 birds and one owl

Early adopters adopting their adaptations

Early adopters adopting their adaptations

Lonely Chinese Tree

Lonely Chinese Tree

A rose is a rose is a rose

A rose is a rose is a rose

And, just to show Mattias does not just do humorous work, but very delicate and detailed pieces as well, I have included the flowers at the end of the interview.

Those of you hungry for more – go to :  http://www.mattiasadolfsson.se/  http://mattiasa.blogspot.com/

“Mending Lucille” WINS Crichton Award ; Nominated for the Family Therapist’ Award!NS

MENDING LUCILLE WINS THE CRICHTON AWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Mending Lucille” has been nominated for two very important awards in Australia, the Family Therapists’ Award and the Crichton Award! It has WON the CRICHTON!

Sarah Davis has won “New Illustrator of the Year” in the Crichton Award for her AMAZING  art work in our picture book, “Mending Lucille” [Lothian/Hachette Livre].

It was also voted one of the 10 best children’s books for 2008 by the New Zealand Listener, the leading journal of review in New Zealand.

I am so thrilled Lothian/Hachette gave me the opportunity to go search for an illustrator and that  I found Sarah on the internet! Despite having no funds to pay Sarah for it, her  spontaneous “love it” for the manuscript persuaded her to do a sample for Lothian – the rest, as they say, is history! Thank you Sarah from the bottom of my heart for agreeing to take on the manuscript of a relative unknown and for ‘seeing’  what it had to say!

Here is the site announcement   – http://cbca.org.au/crichtonaward.htm

The annual Australian Family Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature is awarded by the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy (ANZJFT). A book for older readers, and one for younger readers, are awarded  for being the best books of the year to be useful for therapists in practice. A list of books recommended for use by therapists is also announced by ANZJFT. “Mending Lucille” has been nominated for the Young Readers/Picture Book Award.

Being Nominated for the Family Therapists Award is  deeply meaningful for Sarah and myself . It recognises the contribution our book has made in tackling a very sensitive topic, the loss of  a parent or central carer, and in making available to therapists, counselors, teachers and others involved with children in such a traumatic loss, a resource that is seen to be able to help the child at their point of need.  Adults too have responded  to the book and have found reading  it very therapeutic in helping them deal with such a loss of their own, often buried deep in their past.

Here’s hoping Sarah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cover of "Mending Lucille" by J.R.Poulter, illustrated by Sarah Davis [Lothian]

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

Thumbs up from children! “Mending Lucille” in top 6 picture books for NZ public library district + reviews

Review in FeMail for "Mending Lucille"

Review in FeMail for "Mending Lucille"

New Zealand children have chosen “Mending Lucille”, placing it in the top 6 picture books for 2008. This is a wonderful honour to be chosen by the children themselves! Sarah and I are suitably excited and humbled at the same time! Dunedin Public Library District is one of the largest in New Zealand , incorporating 6 pubic libraries in its territory.

See page 3 of the promotional brochure:

childrens-choice-picture-books_-dunedin-public-library-nz1

Other Reviews for “Mending Lucille”

mendinglucille_brisbaneschild_sept08

mendinglucille_canberratimes_oct08

mendinglucille_magpies_sept08

jenniferpoulter_bundabergnewsmail_sept08
AND

“New Zealand Listener”,  December 20-26 2008 Vol 216 No 3580 – has placed “Mending Lucille” in the top 10 chldren’s books/young adult books for 2008 –  Full review available online on 3rd January 2009
http://www.listener.co.nz/issue/3580/artsbooks/12442/breaking_barriers.html

“Mending Lucille” in top 10 books for children and young people in New Zealand

This week’s edition of New Zealand Listener, December 20-26 2008 Vol 216 No 3580, has rated “Mending Lucille” as one of the Top 10 children’s and young adults books for 2008 [full text of the review available online on 3rd January 2009]. This is amazing and totally blow away news in what has been an ‘interesting’ year!

http://www.listener.co.nz/issue/3580/artsbooks/12442/breaking_barriers.html