October happenings…from here to there, and there, and there…

October has been EXTRA busy. If you’re friends with me on facebook, you’ve had a front row seat to all of the comings and goings. Here’s a recap of the past month.

12109818_1241601935865951_436752756627138700_oI kicked the month off with a trip to Pennsylvania College of Art and Design with Amy Sherald to hear Robert Pruitt speak about his work. Later that evening, we had a reception and book signing in the main gallery. Many thanks to Heidi Leitzke and the rest of PCA&D for being such wonderful hosts.

That next morning, I headed back down the road to Baltimore to host our teacher workshop for the Ezra Jack Keats Baltimore Bookmaking Competition. Our guest speaker was Jonathan Bean, who gave a talk on the visual language of picturebooks. Afterward, picture book illustrator (and former20151003_141424 student), Mary Grace Corpus led a wonderful book binding demonstration. Participating teachers were given copies of paperback editions of White Water and A Place Where Hurricanes Happen. Though hurricane Joaquin tried to put a damper on the weekend, it was wonderful to share with the teachers and librarians who joined us.

On October 9th, I spoke on a panel at KidlitCon along with Matt Phelan, Kevin O’Malley (hilariousness), and Minh Le, author of Let Me Finish (summer 2016). Panels with other illustrators and authors are always fun. We get to talk shop and really nerd out over details like paper, ink brands, and overall design of books. Topics about representation are also broached in these talks as we dish over old stories about art direction and editing in our books as well. The video will be online soon.

The next day I was up in NYC speaking with a super talented group of illustrators in a town hall-like discussion titled Stories Matter: Illustrators Discuss the Cultural Significance of the Popular Image. What a thoughtful and talented bunch of people.  You can hear the entire talk here. Shouts all to those who tuned in during the live discussion and sent in comments and questions via twitter.

Wesley Allsbrook
Alexandra Beguez
Jensine Eckwall
Chris Kindred
Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
Richie Pope
Moderated by Jonathan Bartlett

The next weekend, I was back at Pennsylvania College of Art and Design to speak to students. My work is featured alongside Robert Pruitt through the month of October. I love that the MOSAIC project brings so many working artists into the school to show students more than one way to reach their artistic goals. Every artist is faced with a unique set of challenges that they must overcome along the way to live an artistic life. Hopefully students will remember the narratives from the MOSAIC project artists and use them as tools to navigate their own stories.

12095069_10156200967335037_93850696070551982_oI gave a talk and critique to students, but was most excited to hear about their upcoming project on dementia and alzheimer’s. I wasn’t prepared to take them on a drawing trip, but hopefully they will take my suggestion and head up the street to the local senior citizens home to work with some of the elders there. It will be a great exchange for all involved.12027190_1250800204946124_6562321016325686672_oThat Saturday I took a few middle school students on a gallery walk to talk about how I make my paintings. They got the inside scoop on some of my more unconventional painting tools like saran wrap, salt, and shampoo. One of the highlights of that morning was meeting the instructor, who is taking my Craftsy class!! So cool to meet Crafty learners out in the real world.

This coming Saturday I will join Bank Street College of Education for Bank Street Book Fest! 10:15 – 11:00am – “Artists and Mentors: Book…Making…101”: Christopher Myers (Jake Makes the World; My Pen), Shadra Strickland (Bird; Please, Louise),Raúl Colón (Draw!), and Sara Varon (Robot Dreams; Bake Sale).
Moderator: Joe Rogers, Jr., Founder & Facilitator of Total Equity Now

Back in the day, I worked as Chris Myers’s assistant when I was a young lass clawing trying to make my way in the picture book world. It was one of the most memorable years for me. So come on out and hear some inside stories on what working with Chris was like and how I use my own journey to help mentor and inspire other up and coming illustrators.

That Saturday I head to Atlanta for the weekend en route to a location to be announced later. I will be on workation doing a bit of research for an upcoming project that I am super geeked over. Thanks for reading! Stay tuned…