Sunday, July 31, 2011


I'm being swallowed alive by trying to animate little dogs moving their legs in the snow, which you won't notice anyway.

This brings me to a point. I was telling my fellow children's book author friend Julia Sarcone Roach what I was trying to accomplish (she actually knows how to animate stuff!) and she said she doesn't know how she feels about making animations on book trailers, etc. This is because she thinks books have their own rhythm and pacing and animating them is taking away from that. I agree with that completely... in a way. This is why I can't stand what ebooks are doing with things lately. But I feel like book trailers are different. They exist to tease the reader and get them to buy the BOOK. Not the other way around. I consider the two things very different mediums. What I'm doing is taking a page from my book and delving into that world and imagining what it would be like if it came to life -- very much like I would do if I were a kid sitting on the couch and having my parent read to me. I'd always animate the stuff in my head.

So it's my HOPE that my new little project won't be taking away from my books at all! I hope what I"m doing will make people want to run out and buy them.

What I'm doing, by the way, is animating little bits of the book and I'm putting it all together with me doing a reading of the book and I'm going to add real B&W historical footage and photography. Although, I do kind of like these simple little animated bits by themselves.

Anyone have any thoughts about this?

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I was at the Strand yesterday (always a dangerous thing!) and stumbled upon this cool book:

It goes inside the homes of illustrators of all kinds -- children's book illustrators, editorial, etc. and shows photos of their spaces, which I always love! This book interviews illustrators from NY to Australia.

The book does a bio of 50 or more illustrators. Here is a sample of what some of them say:


"I think about how I'm going to approach the subject. I'll sleep on it from time to time. Sometimes I'll go for a walk, journal, workout, or have some drinks with some friends. Other times I have a shower. I tend to think a lot while I'm in the shower. A lot of great ideas have come to me while scrubbing my feet."


"With Camilla, work and life are in balance, as they are treated with equal measure and consideration. 'I love what I do and it is a big part of my life. I take long walks with my dog, Morran; she is never in a hurry. I also like to go to a cafe to get other input during my working day.' Starting a new project, Camilla's creative process seems possibly learned from her beloved pup. 'First I walk around the subject, sniffing and thinking. Finding words and pictures that I associate with it. Thinking about who's the sender, the receiver and who am I. Then I just have to start to work it through and try it all out.'"


"There is music in the house all day long. 'I am listening to music from the first moment I woke up on the morning to the last minute I am going to sleep. I can't paint without music!" she says" Music helps her concentrate on her work. 'I am always thinking about the thing I am painting and trying to put myself into that world that I am painting, or to become that person myself at least for a time" Jenny hopes that the joy she finds in music translates into her illustration and art works. "I really hope and want my artworks to bring happiness to everyone who is looking on my art.'"

Monday, July 25, 2011


I'm working on a few book trailers so when I do that I look at others to get inspiration. I saw a new book on the kids' table yesterday and decided to pick it up because the artwork is really nicely done. I won't comment on the book itself but the trailer is just right. I think the key to making a good trailer is picking the right music and words and letting the pictures tell the rest of the story:

At the moment I'm trying to write my own music for my latest endeavor in the hopes that my publisher will agree to put it on their website. OR I might hire a friend of mine to play the sax. We shall see!

Do you have any favorites? Let me know and I'll post them!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


We've got the Eric Carle version...

And this wacko version...

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I'm working on making either
1) a teaser for Balto
2) a straight reading of Balto with images
3) a reading of Balto with images mixed with film clips

I'm not sure what to do yet. I'm confused.

Anyway, during my search for noises and such I came upon this odd bunch of Coney Island clips, all put together.

It's kind of creepy yet I like it. I thought I would share.

Friday, July 22, 2011


This is an adult graphic novel but it's perfectly appropriate for teens. I love it. It tells of the New Orleans disaster in a simple way, with amazing pictures. I follows several different groups of people--one group stays to watch their store, another leaves and wonders what happens to their home and belongings, another goes to a shelter, while the 4th entertains guests in the French quarter. The novel alternates in different colors so that it's easy to switch from person to person. I have to admit that I'm much more interested in the disaster now that I've read this book. It made it more personal for me.

This comic started as a web comic. You can read it here:

But I suggest you go out and buy the book!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Thanks to my friend Sheila, who works at B&N and has been cultivating a wonderful kids' book table on the second floor in the kids' department, I discovered this book:

This YouTube video gives you a good sense of the book:

As you can see, there are no words! There are just a lot of fun pictures and little details to look at. On each page, for example, there is a frog and he is always eating something silly... and growing in size as he does! There is a woman looking for a her son... and a boy reading a different book on every page... The board book is a lot of fun. Who needs words! This book will keep a child occupied for a while.

This is what their bio says on Amazon: "Germano Zullo and Albertine are the author and illustrator of numerous popular children’s stories and comics. In 2003 the Swiss duo won the Canal+ prize for their short animated film The Ravioli Box Genie. Germano is a writer and a poet. Albertine is an artist and professor at the School of Visual Arts in Geneva, Switzerland."

I'm interested in seeing what else this duo does.

If you're in the NYC Union Sq area stop by and say hello to Sheila Seward. She's been bringing in some cool books and a lot of stuff that's been out of print and re-printed. Go Sheila!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Say goodbye to the Borders chain. It's over. “I think it’s horrible that Borders is closing,” said a customer from Naperville. “It’s a sign of the times that video games and electronics are taking precedence over books in our culture." That is a scary thought, isn't it? What does this mean for B&N? No competition? I read that employees are not allowed to discuss when final sales will occur. Almost 11,000 people will lose their jobs, which is a sad thing. How did B&N survive when Borders failed? NPR suggests that one reason may be that BN put its money into digital investments. While B&N was busy building its website, Borders outsourced its online sales to Amazon. That was a huge mistake, as this customer explains: "I'll go to Borders to find a book, and then I'll to go to Amazon to buy it." Borders hadn't made a profit since 2006 says NPR. NPR concluded with this interesting theory: "With Barnes & Noble staking its future on digital technology, Raff says, it's likely the big bookstore will only live on in big cities."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


What makes a good kids' story?
Sendak: How would I know? I just write the books.

The monsters (in Wild Things) were based on adults, right?
Sendak: The monsters were based on relatives. They came from Europe, and they came on weekends to eat, and my mom had to cook. Three aunts and three uncles who spoke no English, practically. They grabbed you and twisted your face, and they thought that was an affectionate thing to do. And I knew that my mother's cooking was pretty terrible, and it also took forever, and there was every possibility that they would eat me, or my sister or my brother. We really had a wicked fantasy that they were capable of that. We couldn't taste any worse than what she was preparing. So that's who the Wild Things are. They're foreigners, lost in America, without a language. And children who are petrified of them, and don't understand that these gestures, these twistings of flesh, are meant to be affectionate. So there you go.

Sendak: I remember I was having fights with my editor about this book.

What were the fights about?
Sendak: Well, I'll just give you a silly example. The entire staff at the publishing house were keen on my changing the word "hot" to "warm" on the last page. Because "hot" meant "burn ...." It was going to burn the kid. I couldn't believe it. But it turned into a real world war, just that word, and I won.

How did you win?
Sendak: Just going at it. Just trying to convey how dopey "warm" sounded. Unemotional. Undramatic. Everything about that book is "hot."

Do you think Disney is bad for children?
Sendak: I think it's terrible.

What do you say to parents who think the Wild Things film may be too scary?
Sendak: I would tell them to go to hell. That's a question I will not tolerate.

Because kids can handle it?
Sendak: If they can't handle it, go home. Or wet your pants. Do whatever you like. But it's not a question that can be answered.

Yeah, Sendak can be a bit bold and grumpy sounding... but I got these bits from an interview about his movie that was a few years back from NEWSWEEK. It's pretty interesting. Read the whole thing here.

I have to admit that I didn't like the movie. I really liked the way the monsters looked but my liking of things ended there. I remain a huge fan of the book. I have yet to see a good rendition of a picture book. I don't think it's possible.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


You might see a trend here, with the whole me posting pictures of bookshelves thing. I played with all of the Nooks last week. Or should I say Nooks. There's no "the." I don't know why. Anyway, one thing that really bothers me is that you can change the type on them--meaning you can change the font size and color and the paragraphs around so that they're really skinny and so on. I understand that making fonts really big is great for people with vision problems... but I think it just goes way too far. We book people -- illustrators, designers, etc., work really hard to make the books look nice! Within seconds this can all be destroyed. There was a giant pit in my stomach the minute I found out that the reader could do this with the devices. The reader can BUTCHER a book! Ugh.

Just one more sad thing about where things are going. Plus... you can't hang dozens of multi-colored e-books from your ceiling. Keep that in mind.


Thursday, July 7, 2011


I stumbled upon this painter. If you love books you'll love these paintings! I'd really like one for my wall.