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How To Be A Children's Book Illustrator

Mark Mitchell's blog on children's book illustration and more art

Children’s book illustration’

Painting old buildings

Children's book agent Jill Grinberg

Oh, my.  Yes, painting old buildings in watercolor not latex. You’ll want to see illustrator and fine-arts painter James Gurney dash off a plein air urbanscape — before the time’s up on his parking meter. Former National Geographic illustrator of archeological/historical subjects, author-illustrator of books for children and adults and an exquisite, if occasionally quirky teacher of drawing and… Read More

Terrible in pink?

A Terrible Lizard’s soliloquy moves us to empathy, or maybe not in the gorgeously tactile T is for Terrible (Macmillan)– a 2005 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year by Peter McCarty. Children’s novelist Julie Lake (Galveston’s Summer of the Storm) walks us through the Paleozoic pastel pages, while I handle the not-so-steadicam. We recorded after hours in  Julie’s primary school library that Julie… Read More

“A marvelous way to tell a difficult story”

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

The upcoming Austin SCBWI Graphic Novel Workshop on Saturday, October 5 promises to be a day for writers and illustrators, writer-illustrators and anyone interested in exciting alternative literary forms for children, teens and young adults. OK, plenty of adults read them, too. Webcomics creator, animator, digital content creator and our SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book… Read More

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: 19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 130,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that… Read More

Then let us all with one accord…

Stepping away from the news and business this evening, I poked around on YouTube for a nice Christmas video to share with you. For some reason I started wondering if Sitka, Alaska, where I’d spent 2-3 of my childhood years still celebrates Christmas. I remember how Christmases there would light up the dark Alaskan winter.… Read More

World touring sketchbooks

Have you drawn in your sketchbook today? It’s a question that humbles every aspiring children’s book illustrator. But in our “high touch era” where the handcrafts site Etsy numbers near the top of online marketplaces and scrapbooking became so cool that it inspired the social media phenomenon known as Pinterest, sketchbooks and the art of filling them… Read More

Mary’s magic

Children’s book illustrator Mary Sullivan will add “author” to her extensive illustration credits when her new picture book Ball comes out from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt this Spring. Based on the ball chasing dog Mary never had, Ball uses only one word, repeatedly to tell of a dog who dreams of chasing a certain red ball. The Junior Library Guild, a library… Read More

How to build a robot in Quark

Children’s book author-illustrator Annette Simon works hard to make her picture books playful. Or, maybe more accurately, she plays hard to make her picture books work.   Her Robot Zombie Frankenstein! (Candlewick Press) delivers an exhilarating,  escalating battle of wits, creativity, costumery and dessert in 72 words. The bright pictures suggest Colorforms — the plastic stick-ons found in kindergarten toy boxes — but they’re… Read More

Curious business

Children’s book illustrators and anyone absorbed in the curious business of children’s book illustration, Do you find it interesting, as I do that the big commercial for Google’s Nexus 7 features a little girl and her mom reading a Curious George story on the device? Google, in its elegant way used a simple illustrated page from… Read More